American Honda Motor Company Inc., a gold sponsor of Greenbuild 2007 and USGBC member since 2000, has undertaken a series of new green building initiatives as part of a leading effort to further reduce the environmental impact of Honda's operations and products in the U.S. and throughout North America. The company will certify two new facilities to the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards in its 2009 fiscal year (ending March 31, 2009).
Honda R&D America's Acura Design Studio in Torrance, Calif., and American Honda's Midwestern Consolidation Center in Troy, Ohio, will be certified LEED buildings, targeted at a Gold rating. In addition to these new certifications, Honda has two existing LEED-Gold buildings: Honda R&D America's central plant facility in Raymond, Ohio, and American Honda's Northwest Regional Center in Gresham, Ore. As well, Honda will seek to recertify its Gresham, Ore., facility to LEED-EB (Existing Building) standards to ensure the facility continues to operate in an energy efficient manner. The Gresham facility was the first mixed-use industrial building in the country to earn LEED-Gold certification and continues to generate significant interest for its environmental leadership.
Both new facilities - the Acura Design Studio and the Midwest Consolidation Center - share common sustainable features such as:
The Acura Design Studio is also using water reclaimed from a nearby sewage treatment plant to flush toilets and irrigate the grounds, along with a high-efficiency displacement-type ventilation system that moves cool air from rooftop air conditioning units to large, floor-level grills, where it displaces heat from the human body. The 547,000-square-foot Midwest Consolidation Center has a mezzanine made from wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as having come from sustainably-managed forest lands.
In the area of green factories, the company is working consistently and with widespread effort to reduce the environmental footprint of its 14 major manufacturing facilities operating in North America, including its five automobile assembly plants - in Ohio; Alabama; Alliston, Ontario; and El Salto, Mexico.
Ongoing efforts to conserve energy and more efficiently utilize production capacity have reduced CO2 emissions for each automobile produced in North America to a six-year low of 711 kilograms in FY2007, while energy use per auto produced was reduced to a seven-year low of 6.6 gigajoules.
Landfill waste from automobile production facilities has been reduced dramatically from 17.4 kilograms/auto in fiscal year 2001 to 5.9 kg/auto in FY2007, including several zero waste to landfill manufacturing facilities.
In FY2007, American Honda's Torrance, California, campus, which relies on an efficient natural-gas powered cogeneration unit to produce 10 percent of its energy, purchased 13.2 percent fewer kilowatt-hours of electricity from public utilities than in the previous year. In addition to green building and green factory activities, Honda is undertaking efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its products and operations in all business areas:
Home Heating Cogeneration Product
In the area of improved home-heating efficiency - in April of this year, Honda and technology partner Climate Energy LLC began retail sales in the Northeastern U.S. of a micro cogeneration combined heat and power (MCHP) system called freewatt. The ultra-quiet MCHP unit produces 3.26 kilowatts of heat and 1.2 kilowatts of electric power. Test data has shown that when the freewatt system replaces an 80-percent efficiency home heating system, the homeowner can realize an average 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions, while reducing heating costs by as much as $500 to $1,000 per year.
Natural Gas Home Refueling Appliance
In 2005, Honda and technology partner Fuelmaker Corporation introduced the Phill natural gas home refueling appliance, which Honda is marketing in California and New York in conjunction with its near-zero emissions CNG-powered Civic GX. Civic GX driver using the Phill unit enjoy the convenience of home refueling at significantly reduced cost compared to gasoline.
Honda Solar Cells
In March, Honda Soltec Company Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Company Ltd., began sales of next-generation solar cells to residential users in Japan. The new Honda-developed cells use a compound of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS) to reduce by approximately 50 percent the energy and CO2 emissions emitted in the production stage. A solar-powered hydrogen station utilizing Honda solar cells is in operation at Honda R&D America's Torrance, California, campus, where it is used in conjunction with a Honda-developed electrolyzer for the production of hydrogen. The hydrogen is used to power the Honda FCX fuel cell vehicle in a carbon-free energy cycle.
Honda continues to make improvements to its industry-leading fuel efficiency and emissions reduction and through real-world advancement of energy alternatives, such as natural gas and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
The Honda FCX is the world's only fuel cell vehicle certified by the U.S. government and the only FCV currently in use by individual customers. The company will begin limited marketed in the U.S. and Japan of an all-new Honda fuel cell vehicle, with advanced design and a next-generation fuel cell powertrain, beginning next year.