Chevrolet recently began selling the Spark EV to Maryland commuters able to take advantage of the state’s robust charging infrastructure. Now the car’s electric motor and drive unit are being manufactured in Maryland under a rooftop solar array in a newly LEED-certified building.
The greening of the General Motors Baltimore Operations complex included the addition of 580 kilowatts of solar to the roof of its e-Motor building. Together with a 1.23-megawatt solar array on its grounds, 6 percent of the facility’s electricity comes from renewable sources. Maryland-based Empower Energies installed the solar system.
The U.S. Green Building Council certified the building as LEED Silver for environmental upgrades such as the solar array, installing light-emitting diode, or LED, exterior lighting and using compact fluorescent lighting in production areas.
Employee efforts to further reduce the building’s carbon footprint led to its surpassing the voluntary U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry, which requires a 10 percent reduction in energy intensity within five years. Baltimore joins 70 achievers in GM, which is the global leader of the challenge.
“Improving the energy efficiency of our nation’s plants and buildings is critical to protecting our environment,” said Jean Lupinacci, acting director of EPA’s Climate Protection Partnerships Division. “GM is addressing this in its Baltimore plant by achieving a 15.5 percent reduction in energy intensity and is leading the way by making the buildings where we work, play and learn more efficient.”
Maryland Energy Administration recognized Baltimore Operations with its Game Changer award for a smart microgrid charging technology created and managed in partnership with TimberRock Energy Solutions and OnStar. A solar array and solar EV charging canopy traps the power of the sun to create energy, which is used to charge the facility’s fleet of Chevrolet Volts or stored in an integrated storage system that can support the grid.
The facility supports community-based organizations committed to advancing environmental awareness and education. Employees mentor local students in watershed quality and improvement projects and Baltimore Operations maintains a wildlife habitat certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council.