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Our goal to become carbon neutral in our operations will be achieved in part through an ambitious energy conservation and renewable energy program.

Energy Star

2021 Energy Star Certifications for Superior Energy Management

  • IT Innovation Centers in Texas and Arizona
  • Enterprise Data Centers (2) in Michigan
  • Flint Assembly
  • Fort Wayne Assembly

An important pillar in GM’s carbon reduction strategy for Scope 1 & 2 emissions is to focus on energy efficiency. Globally, our plants continue to work on improving energy efficiency and reducing GHG emissions through the use of an energy management system (EnMS). In addition to our Science-Based Target goal for GHG emissions, GM expanded our energy intensity goal for operations to 2035 with a 35% reduction from a 2010 baseline. Following are some of the programs and strategies that we deploy to conserve energy in our operations.

U.S. DOE 50001 Ready Program

In 2021, 27 GM U.S. manufacturing facilities, or 93% of our U.S. manufacturing footprint, implemented the U.S. DOE 50001 Ready program. GM has implemented 50001 Ready at 27 manufacturing and two nonmanufacturing facilities—more than any other participating company. In 2021, we expanded the program to two nonmanufacturing sites in the United States, two plants in Canada and one in Mexico. We plan to expand this program to all manufacturing facilities globally to continuously monitor and improve our EnMS.

Better Buildings Low Carbon Pilot

We are participating in the DOE Better Buildings program to demonstrate pathways to achieve low or zero carbon in the operation of buildings and manufacturing plants.

Energy Star’s Building Portfolio Manager (BPM)

GM uses data analytics to measure and track energy consumption globally. BPM is an example of a tool that allows us to benchmark performance and make continuous improvements.

GM Energy Strategy

Increasing Energy Efficiency

Reduce energy consumption at
our facilities.

Sourcing Renewables

Source through direct investments, green tariffs and power purchase agreements.

Addressing Intermittency

Mitigate against gaps in renewable energy for electricity transmission.

Policy Advocacy

Work to drive down costs and increase renewable energy
for electricity opportunities.

Goal: Plan to source 100% renewable electricity at sites in the
United States by 2025 and globally by 2035.

GM was recognized by the Michigan Battle of the Buildings in 2021 for manufacturing resiliency in the face of rapidly changing dynamics during the pandemic.

In 2021, GM received recognition from Energy Star for Sustained Excellence in Energy Management for the 10th year, confirming our continuous improvement activities.

Energy Star Challenge for Industry

This continuous improvement program has recognized 69 GM plants multiple times over the past 10 years for a total of 130 recognitions. The Challenge is to reduce energy intensity by 10% within a five-year period. In 2021, five plants met the Challenge with an average 15% reduction over three years. The five plants were Qingdao Assembly, Baojun Assembly and Dongyue Engine, all in China, Silao Assembly in Mexico and Flint Assembly in the United States.

Energy Star certifications provide a benchmark system for energy efficiency, identifying buildings and auto assembly plants within the top 25th percentile of operating efficiency.

Energy OnStar

This tool (unrelated to GM’s OnStar service), is a continuous commissioning system that monitors the performance of our HVAC equipment in real time. Approximately one-third of our operational energy use is heating and cooling, and the system allows us to quickly identify when a unit is malfunctioning and easily find opportunities for improvement. The Energy OnStar tool helped us optimally manage plant shutdowns in 2021 during the semiconductor shortage.

Energy Star Treasure Hunts

Through this process, we can engage nearly 100 team members to uncover quick ways to save energy. In 2021, we conducted 17 on-site and virtual energy treasure hunts, covering 61 million square feet of space, and found 175 opportunities that could potentially save the company $5 million. We also extended this approach to our suppliers during the year, including rolling out a Virtual Energy Treasure Hunt process. Learn more in Supporting Supplier Responsibility.

A More Energy-Efficient Plant

One of our energy efficiency projects in 2021 was at Fort Wayne Assembly, where we manufacture the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size trucks. The 35-year-old plant generated steam with large natural gas boilers to heat the building and manufacturing processes. The Powerhouse also generates six megawatts of renewable electricity from landfill gas, a renewable fuel that would normally be flared, which we instead use to generate renewable electricity as part of our RE-100 target. The remainder of the plant’s electric loads are served by wind and solar and are 100% powered by renewable energy. The project will eliminate steam, an inefficient heating method, by using the waste heat from the landfill gas engines to supply most of the building heat and converting other steam loads to direct or indirect natural gas. Additional energy conservation measures include the installation of ultraviolet lamps in air handling units, lighting and dock heater controls.

Accelerating an All-Renewable Future

In 2021, we accelerated our timeline for sourcing 100% of our electricity from renewable sources for our U.S. sites to 2025, five years earlier than previously announced and 25 years ahead of our initial target set in 2016. In doing so, we also will help drive growth in the renewable energy sector.

Just as GM has the scale to promote widespread adoption of EVs, we also have the scale to help bring about a transition to renewable power sources across the United States. We are the 12th largest offtaker in the world1, and largest in the automotive industry, of renewable power purchase agreements by capacity. Reducing our own operational carbon footprint and setting up the grid for a future in which EVs can charge using renewable power for electricity is an essential part of our zero-emissions vision.

By accelerating our renewable energy for electricity goal, GM aims to avoid 1 million metric tons of carbon emissions that could have been produced between 2025 and 2030. The accelerated U.S. goal will position us to continue working toward our goal of sourcing 100% renewable energy to power global operations by 2035.

This U.S. goal builds upon approval of our targets. In 2021, the SBTi assessed GM’s official submission against the Call to Action’s eligibility criteria. The target submission for Scope 1 and 2 emissions is a reduction of absolute emissions of 72% by 2035 from a 2018 base year, which meets the minimum ambitions for a 1.5°C pathway. We are currently on track to meet the target by 2035 with 25% of our global electricity powered by renewable energy in 2021.

  1. BloombergNEF

Quantifying the Impact

5 the number of years we have accelerated our goal to source 100% renewable energy to supply electricity for our U.S. sites.

1M metric tons of potential carbon emissions avoided if we meet our goal by 2025 instead of 2030.

The GHG emissions equivalent of 125,963 homes’ energy use annually.

GM Renewable Energy for Electricity Initiatives1

U.S. Map showing our renewable energy for electricity initiatives
  1. Figure includes both operating and executed agreements.

Total Capacity of Renewable Electricity

14.4 MW Landfill Gas

313.995 MW Solar

830 MW Wind

Our Energy & Emissions Progress

Absolute Scope 1 & 2 Emissions
(million metric tons CO2e)

Bar chart showing our yearly absolute scope 1 & 2 emissions from 2019 to 2021 as compared to our 2018 baseline and our 2035 goal

Energy Intensity
(Energy used in GM’s operations)

Bar chart showing our yearly energy intensity from 2019 to 2021 as compared to our 2018 baseline and our 2035 goal

Energy intensity is a global calculation. 2021 performance was higher than prior years due to lower vehicle production driven by semiconductor shortages and other COVID-related constraints.

Renewable Energy as a Percentage of Global Electricity Use

Bar chart showing our yearly renewable energy as a percentage of global electricity use from 2019 to 2021 as compared to our 2018 baseline and our 2035 goal
  1. Based on estimated forecasted global renewable energy sourced through currently executed agreements, subject to change depending on actual future electric usage in operations, and actual future renewable generation.

Energy Consumption by Source

Pie chart showing our energy consumption by source

Climate Innovation Goes the Extra Mile

As we move toward an all-electric future, it is on us to lead positive change and implement inclusive solutions. In 2021, we committed to several capital and philanthropic ventures to support our zero-emissions future. It is imperative that we bring everyone along and go beyond our more than $35 billion investment in EV and AV development.

We have joined Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, a collaborative public-private partnership to help advance the commercialization of green technology.

Focus Areas

  • Direct Air Capture
  • Green Hydrogen
  • Long Duration Energy Storage
  • Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Our Role

  • Founding Anchor Partner
  • Member of Catalyst Leadership Council

GM has joined TPG Rise Climate, designed to grow the wide range of commercially viable climate technologies that have been incubated by the research community, early-stage investors and other climate innovation accelerators.

Focus Areas

  • Clean Energy
  • Enabling Solutions
  • Decarbonized Transport
  • Greening Industrials
  • Agriculture and Natural Solutions

Our Role

  • Corporate Coalition Member
  • Insights into a wide range of sustainability strategies, technologies and investment opportunities

GM has established a $50 million Climate Equity Fund to assist community-based organizations with helping to close equity gaps in the transition to EVs and other sustainable technology. Learn more at Climate Equity Fund.

Focus Areas

  • Increase the Number of People Qualified for Clean Energy Careers
  • Increase Awareness and/or Access to Sustainable Transportation Solutions
  • Increase Programs that Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change, Assist with Climate Adaptation and/or Community Resilience

Our Role

  • Established in 2021
  • Committed an additional $25 million in funding in 2022 to bring the total fund to $50 million
  • 19 beneficiaries in first year

GM Renewable Energy for Electricity Initiatives*

* Figure includes both operating and executed agreements.

GM Renewable Energy for Electricity Initiatives
(million metric tons CO2e)

Energy Intensity
(Energy used in GM’s operations)

Renewable Energy as a Percentage
of Global Electricity Use

  1. Based on estimated forecasted global renewable energy sourced through currently executed agreements, subject to change depending on actual future electric usage in operations, and actual future renewable generation.

Energy Consumption by Source