GM JoinvilleBrazil – Recognition from the US Green Building Council makes the engine plant the first automotive facility in South America to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard, says GM. According to the vehicle-maker, the certification is the result of investments in sustainability from the start of construction two years ago.

Environmental measures at Joinville include solar power, reverse osmosis, natural lighting and filtering gardens for sewage.

A 350kW solar array powers the plant and office lighting, saving 10.5 tons of CO2 per year, as well as heating 15,000 litres of water each day, cutting natural gas costs and 17.6 tons of emissions per annum. GM says it is the first solar energy system in the Brazilian automotive industry. The reverse osmosis filters wastewater to save 22.9m litres of water per year.

Mike Robinson, GM vice-president of Sustainability and Global Regulatory Affairs, commented: “From the use of solar power to water conservation, this is how we want all of our facilities to aspire to operate”.

Joinville is now working towards landfill-free status.