Being green in Northeast Mississippi got a lot easier today as dozens of community members and citizens joined Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi, Inc. (Toyota), TVA and New Albany Light, Gas & Water (NALGW) this morning at a ceremony to celebrate Earth Day 2013 by “powering on” Toyota’s new 50 kilowatt solar array.
Also at the ceremony, Toyota was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with its ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award for its continued leadership in protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency.
Toyota’s Blue Springs plant assembles the Corolla and employs 2,000 team members.
“Toyota is honored to celebrate Earth Day 2013 with the community,” said Doug Formby, vice president of administration at Toyota. “The ‘powering on’ of our 50 kilowatt solar array and recognition of the EPA’s ENERGY STAR award demonstrates our commitment of 'Respect for the planet.' Plus, it’s another step in our long-term vision of being the model sustainable plant in the region, covering four key areas including: Performance; Biodiversity; Use of renewable energy and Education.”
"Knowing Toyota's history of innovation and its philosophy of kaizen -- the cycle of continuous improvement -- no one was surprised when the Blue Springs plant was chosen as the model plant in North American for environmental sustainability,” said Trudy Fisher, executive director, Mississippi Department of Environmental. “We are thankful to Toyota for leading by example in its utilization of solar energy. Results will be good for the environment, good for Mississippi, and good for the company's bottom line. Thank you, Toyota, for your continued investment in the State of Mississippi and for your most recent living lessons of the rewards of kaizen."
50 kilowatt solar array
Toyota’s solar array is the fourth largest in the state of Mississippi and will generate 50 kilowatts of peak energy, enough to power approximately seven average households for an entire year.
It will optimize performance by tracking the sun’s movement from sun rise to sun set and will lay flat at night in “sleep mode.”
The power generated by the solar array will be redirected back to NALGW, which ultimately transfers back into the grid for public use.
The solar panels were installed by Carthage-based Mississippi Solar LLC, who worked closely with Toyota engineers, TVA and NALGW on the project.
ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award
Last month, the U.S. EPA recognized Toyota and its 14 vehicle assembly, engine and parts plants across North America – including Toyota Mississippi – with its ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award for its continued leadership in protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency.
It’s Toyota’s ninth consecutive ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award and it is the most among any automaker that assembles vehicles in the United States.
Over an 11-year period at Toyota’s 14 plants, total cost saving from energy improvements has totaled more than $330 million, and energy use has been reduced by 21 percent per vehicle produced. That enough energy to power 28,000 average households for an entire year.
Toyota’s Blue Springs plant, which assembles the Corolla, has used innovative design and best practice techniques from other Toyota facilities to become the most energy efficient Toyota plant on the continent.
Last fall, the plant obtained its ISO 14001 certification, an internationally recognized environmental designation for its environmental management systems.
Model plant for sustainability
As the model plant for sustainability for North America, the Blue Springs plant is focused on four unique areas relating to the environment. They are:
3. Renewable energy;
Today’s “powering on” of the 50 kilowatt solar array and the ENERGY STAR award are a step in Toyota Mississippi’s long-term vision of becoming a model plant for sustainability and solidifies Toyota’s commitment that everything we do, we will show consideration to the planet while investigating and promoting systems and solutions that are of benefit to society.
Other examples of being eco-friendly at the plant include:
Use of waterless irrigation on the grounds;
Use of geothermal wells to heat and cool areas of the plant;
An advanced recycling program where waste is divided between compostable and non-compostable;
Use of a unique paint system that uses low pressure water atomized water instead of steam, chilled water and paint ovens to control humidity and temperature.