AVON, Ohio – A LEED Silver certification for the company’s headquarters location, a second trophy from the U.S. Department of Energy, and a governor’s award for the company’s first solar installation. These are the latest publicly recognized distinctions reflecting the energy, zero-waste, and sustainability milestones large and small that Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC (Bendix) achieved in 2022.
Bendix is the North American leader in the design, development, and manufacture of active safety, air management, and braking solutions for commercial vehicles. Its sustainability journey has followed that of its parent company, Knorr-Bremse, based in Munich, Germany, the global market leader for braking systems and a leading supplier of other safety-critical rail and commercial vehicle systems.
Over the past decade, both organizations have focused on achieving reduced energy use, increased waste diversion, and improved energy efficiency in alignment with the United Nations’ (U.N.) ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The 17 overarching environmental objectives promote prosperity while protecting the environment. Two of the objectives – Responsible Consumption and Production (encompassed within SDG 12) and Climate Action (the focus of SDG 13) – have been central to Bendix’s sustainability efforts.
Like Knorr-Bremse, Bendix is striving to cut its carbon emissions in half by 2030, using energy efficiency projects, zero-waste operations, and renewable energy generation to do this.
These same efforts continued to define Bendix’s energy and environmental strategies in 2022. By the end of the year, Bendix implemented projects that helped reduce its energy consumption by more than nine million kilowatt-hours over the most recent three-year period.
The company also added two new solar installations, achieved zero-waste certifications at nine locations, and continued to focus on a zero-waste approach to resource management.
“2022 was an outstanding year for Bendix’s energy, environmental, and sustainability performance,” said Maria Gutierrez, Bendix senior director, environmental, social, and governance (ESG). “As we settled into our Avon, Ohio, headquarters and implemented energy efficiency and environmental improvements across more operations this year, team members contributed to our missions of reduced energy use and eliminating wastes. As a result of all of our efforts, we continued to shrink Bendix’s carbon footprint in North America. The accolades we received are testimony to that teamwork and commitment.”
A Growing Presence in Solar Power
Bendix also succeeded in increasing its use of clean, renewable energy during 2022, allowing for further reductions in the company’s use of fossil fuels. By the end of the year, the company was operating three solar installations – trimming CO2 emissions as well as energy costs.
The company’s first solar array, a 1.168-megawatt installation at the Huntington, Indiana, manufacturing complex, completed its first full year of operation in 2022. Commissioned in August 2021, it was the largest such installation in Huntington County. At full capacity, the project can produce 1.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually from its 2,612 solar panels.
In 2022, the installation met its production goals, satisfying 30% of the electrical demand at Huntington Plant 1. This energy source also provided a 19% reduction in the campus’ carbon footprint. And by producing this energy, Bendix saved more than $140,000 in energy costs, an amount that exceeded company estimates.
In another energy milestone, the company completed its second solar project in 2022 with the December startup of two solar arrays at Bendix Acuña manufacturing plants 1 and 2. The installations – each capable of generating 1,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually – are expected to supply about 11% of each plant’s electricity needs.
The $1 million solar project was the first of its kind among the region’s numerous manufacturers. Together, the arrays, comprising nearly 2,600 photovoltaic panels, are expected to reduce CO2 emissions at the Acuña campus by about 9%, decreasing reliance on the local power grid and reducing Bendix’s carbon footprint in pursuit of sustainability.
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