Tag: environmental sustainability
It’s no surprise that the automotive industry isn’t great for the world, but we continue to purchase new vehicles and demand more powerful, more feature rich and largely more capable cars, trucks and SUVs to come out each and every year. Many people strive to improve the environment without even realizing the impact that their own purchases make on the environment. Needless to say that companies like Volkswagen are left to figure out how to meet those demands while also reducing their impact on the environment. Part of this is because of federal MPG and emission mandates, but that’s not all. Most automakers legitimately want to help improve the environment as well, and Volkswagen is working quite hard to do its part.
Reducing Vehicle Emissions
Volkswagen has plans to reduce vehicle emissions and fuel consumption by as much as 40% between 2010 and 2020. While we’re already tipping past the halfway point to that goal at present the company is still working hard to meet the reduction goal and strives to make incremental improvements each and every year. IN order to meet these lofty goals the automaker works hard to make a between 10% and 15% efficiency improvement to each model vehicle every new model year. The automaker isn’t just stopping at its 2020 goal though, it also has an overarching goal to create a lineup that’s 90% more efficient by 2050. Sure that’s nearly 35 years out from now, but such a lofty goal is going to take time, and it’s much more aggressive than many other automakers today.
Electrifying its Vehicles
Another way that Volkswagen is working to improve its lineups efficiency is by making hybrid and full electric versions of its current vehicles. The automaker has plans to electrify at least 40 different models and is already actively working on making those changes. To help its electric vehicles succeed Volkswagen is also going to invest $10 million into charging infrastructure around the country so there are places to actually power up those vehicles.
Volkswagen works with 3degrees, a carbon offset broker to help improve the environment in other ways to offset the carbon produced during production. So for instance, the automaker might help fund the planting of so many trees per automobile that they produce. This funding goes to the aid of forest conservation and reforesting other sections of the earth. The efforts are closely monitored by third parties to ensure that carbon offset claims are accurate. When all the efforts Volkswagen is making to meet efficiency demands can’t keep up entirely the automaker relies on these carbon credits to make up the difference and to help reduce their environmental impact as well.
Volkswagen is going above and beyond what many other automakers today are doing to reduce its overall environment impact. As long as the company, and other automakers around the world keep working to make these improvements personal transportation will have less of an effect on the environment over time.
The World Environment Center (WEC) has recognized Volkswagen for its comprehensive commitments to environmental sustainable operations, most notably through its holistic sustainable business model, Think Blue with the 30th Annual Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development. Volkswagen will accept the Gold Medal Award on Thursday, May 15, 2014, during the Gold Medal Presentation Ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The World Environment Center’s Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development was established in 1985 to recognize significant industry initiatives in global environmental excellence and sustainable development. Recent recipients of the WEC Gold Medal Award are: Unilever (2013), IBM (2012), Nestlé (2011), Wal-Mart Stores (2010), The Coca-Cola Company (2009), and Marks & Spencer (2008).
Volkswagen’s Gold Medal submission was evaluated through a global competition with companies in multiple business sectors by WEC’s independent Gold Medal Jury chaired by Dr. Joel Abrams, Professor Emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh. The Jury, composed of international leaders from academia, non-governmental organizations and retired industry professionals, determined that Volkswagen earned the award on the merits of its long-term dedication to integrating sustainability into its business products and operations.
Think Blue is Volkswagen’s holistic vision toward attaining a sustainable and ecofriendly business model throughout the company’s global operations and, to date, focuses on a range of clean diesel vehicles, sustainability contracts with suppliers, efficiency training throughout Volkswagen’s global workforce, and LEED-certified facilities.
“On behalf of the independent Gold Medal Jury, I extend my congratulations to Volkswagen for its longstanding commitment to sustainable business throughout its operations, facilities, workforce and products,” stated Dr. Abrams.
In acknowledging receipt of the longest standing and most prestigious global sustainability award Volkswagen Group Head of Sustainability Gerhard Prätorius stated, “It is a great honor for Volkswagen to receive the Gold Medal Award for Sustainable Development in 2014. This award serves to further motivate and encourage Volkswagen to reach our ambitious goals in the forthcoming years.”
Did you know that from Thanksgiving to New Year’s day, household waste increases by more than 25 percent and this extra trash – mostly food, shopping bags, product packaging and wrapping paper – adds up to an additional 1 million tons of waste a week that is sent to U.S. landfills.
So what can we do to help reduce waste and make this holiday season a little greener. Our team here at LAcarGUY have put together a list that we hope you will find useful.
- Not all gifts have to be store-bought. Read up on Tips for Sustainable Giving.
- Source locally made gifts. Many gifts in today’s marketplace come from halfway around the world, and the impact of transportation contributes significantly to greenhouse emissions and global warming.
- Choose gifts made from recycled resources. Here are some gift ideas made from recycled materials.
- ‘Re-gifting’ is OK. There’s much discussion these days about the etiquette behind the trend to ‘re-gift’, that is, to pass on a gift you received but do not need. What’s to discuss? Re-gifting makes perfect sense. If you receive something you really don’t need, look for ways you can reuse this gift by passing it on to someone who can use it. Of course, re-gifting needs to be done with care so as not to offend the original giver, but keeping a gift you don’t need is wasteful.
- Connect with nature – start a family nature hike tradition. A peaceful walk will be valued and remembered
- Deck the halls with LED lights this year. Sparkly, energy-saving LEDs – super-efficient lights that use a lot less energy than incandescents – are abundant on store shelves this season
- Skip paper and plastic products. This is the season where it’s easy to bring out your family china, silverware, and cloth napkins – even for breakfast. Try doing it, and you may never go back to using paper or plastic products to eat off of again.
- Recycle your Christmas Tree. If you’re still inclined to get a cut tree, there are several recycling options available. Leftover trees can be used for mulch, erosion, habitat creation and more. Check out treecycling search to find a recycling option near you.
What are some of the steps you take to help reduce the environmental impact of the holidays? Share your tips…
There are a number of manufacturing processes within the Toyota plant require pure water. However, typically, 25 percent of the water that enters the facility do not meet this criteria.
But by implementing a system called reverse osmosis that separates impurities before the manufacturing process, Toyota has increased usable water from 75 to 90 percent at several of its plants.
Check out this graphic for details on how implementing the use of brackish reverse osmosis helps Toyota improve use rate from 75% to 90%.
As much as we love the outdoors, as Subaru enthusiasts, we are also concerned about the environment. Here at Subaru Pacific, we are proud of the fact that we are the first Subaru dealership to receive the Subaru Eco-Friendly Dealer award.
The award recognizes the culture created at Subaru Pacific which mirrors that of Subaru of America and also the LAcarGUY family of dealers. In the day-to-day running of business, from the products used, how waste oil is recycled to how the dealership is lit, everything is done with environmental conservation in mind.
Watch the following video to find out more about how Subaru Pacific is taking green philosophy to a whole other level:
The 2014 Toyota Corolla has been elevated to “green heights.” The Green Car Journal has named the eleventh-generation sedan a finalist for the 2014 Green Car of the Year award and one of its top 5 Green Cars for 2014. The Corolla also earned the magazine’s ‘Green Car Product of Excellence’ distinction. The other 2014 model finalists include the Audi A6 TDI, BMW 328d, Honda Accord, and Mazda3. All five are also honored as Green Car Journal’s “Top 5 Green Cars for 2014″ and earn the magazine’s “Green Car Product of Excellence” honors.
Finalists are selected for their achievements in raising the bar in environmental performance. Availability to the mass market is a factor to ensure honored models have the potential to make a real difference in environmental impact, and finalists must be available for sale by January 1st of the award year.
”The Corolla has been the world’s most popular name plate with over 40 million sold since 1966. The Corolla’s environmental sensitivity has evolved with the market. The new 11th generation of Corolla, and the new LE Eco model in particular, offer increased levels of capability and fuel economy,” said Bob Carter, Senior Vice President, Automotive Operations, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
Green Car of the Year® jurors include auto enthusiast and Tonight Show host Jay Leno, plus leaders of the nation’s major environmental organizations including Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club; and Matt Petersen, board member of Global Green USA. Green Car Journal editors round out the 2014 Green Car of the Year® jury.
The Green Car of the Year will be announced during media days at the L.A. Auto Show, Nov. 20-21, 2013.
The U.S. EPA has presented the WasteWise Large Business Partner of the Year, Honorable Mention Award to Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) in recognition of the waste reduction efforts of its associates across the country. This is the third year that Toyota sales and logistics facilities have been commended by the WasteWise program for their efforts in reducing refuse, increasing recycling, and purchasing environmentally preferable products.
In 2012, TMS facilities collectively recycled or avoided production of 98 percent of its trash – more than 99 million pounds. The greenhouse gas emissions avoided by this feat are equal to the annual emissions of more than 87,000 vehicles.
“Toyota focuses on reducing waste and increasing efficiency in all operations,” said Chris Reynolds, TMS chief environmental officer. “This achievement means more environmental resources for our future and lower costs for both Toyota and customers today.”
The biggest contributor to the decrease in waste production comes from the use of an extensive network of returnable containers throughout Toyota’s North American parts distribution network. In 2012, these efforts avoided the the production of more than 81 million pounds of trash in the form of wood pallets and cardboard packaging.
Returnable containers have been moving through the parts network for more than a decade. Since 2002, Toyota estimates a total savings of 273 million pounds of wood and 170 million pounds of cardboard from use of returnables. That is equal to more than 2.3 million trees.
“We applaud Toyota for an innovative reusable packaging program that reduced its waste footprint,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The waste diversion program has led to significant cost savings, proving that it’s not only good for the environment, but good for business.”
TMS joined the WasteWise program in 2009. In 2010, TMS received the Waste Reduction in the Workplace Award, Honorable Mention followed by Large Business Partner of the Year honors in 2011.
The WasteWise program is a voluntary partnership program sponsored by the U.S. E.P.A. to help organizations achieve cost savings, improve efficiency and reduce their climate footprint through waste reduction. Partners range from large and small businesses to nonprofit organizations to federal, state, local and tribal governments.
With the opening of the e-gas plant in Werite, Germany last week, Audi is the first automobile manufacturer to develop a chain of sustainable energy carriers. Using green electricity, water and carbon dioxide, the final products are hydrogen and synthetic methane.
“Audi is taking a giant step toward the mobility of the future today,” said Heinz Hollerweger, Head of Total Vehicle Development, in his speech at the inauguration. “Audi is the only manufacturer worldwide with such innovative technology. Research into synthetic, environment-friendly fuels is the core of our vigorous e-fuels strategy.” Reiner Mangold, Head of Sustainable Product Development, added, “The power-to-gas facility we built in Werlte can become a beacon project for the entire energy revolution, far beyond the boundaries of our company.” Peter Altmaier, German Federal Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, also commended Audi’s commitment in his welcoming address.
In a two step process, the plant will produce synthetic methane, or Audi e-gas, which is virtually identical to fossil natural gas and will be distributed via an existing infrastructure, the German natural gas network, to the CNG filling stations. In the first step, the plant uses surplus green electricity to breakdown water into oxygen and hydrogen. This hydrogen could one day power fuel-cell vehicles. Due to the absence of an area-wide infrastructure, the second step is carried out directly: methanation. The hydrogen is reacted with carbon dioxide to produce the synthetic methane. The plant is scheduled to begin feeing Audi e-gas to the grid in the fall of 2013.
The Audi e-gas plant will produce about 1,000 metric tons of e-gas per year, chemically binding some 2,800 metric tons of CO2. This roughly corresponds to the amount that a forest of over 220,000 beech trees absorbs in one year. Water and oxygen are the only by-products.
According to Audi, it is anticipated that the e-gas from Werlte will power 1,500 new Audi A3 Sportback g-tron vehicles for 9,320.57 miles of CO2-neutral driving every year. The 1.4 TFSI in the five-door model can burn natural gas, biomethane and Audi e-gas; with its bivalent design it can also use gasoline. This gives it a total range of some 807.78 miles.
Customers can order a quota of e-gas when they purchase the car. This enables them to take part in an accounting process that ensures that the amount of gas that they put in their vehicle at the natural gas filling station is supplied to the grid by the Audi e-gas plant. Payment and billing is handled via the Audi e-gas refueling card.
The e-gas project is part of Audi’s comprehensive e-fuels strategy. In parallel with the e-gas plant in Werlte, Audi also operates a research facility in Hobbs, New Mexico, USA, for the production of e-ethanol and e-diesel in collaboration with Joule.
by Zach McDonald | HybridCars.com Over the last dozen years, Volkswagen has gradually been working to perfect a concept car so revolutionary in its fuel efficiency that it was known as the “One-Liter.” The naming reflected VW’s original goal for the car, to produce a vehicle that could travel 100 kilometers on a single gallon of fuel. Now, with the addition of a small lithium ion battery pack and plug-in hybrid charging capability, the One-Liter has evolved into the XL1, a limited-run production vehicle that will not only meet, but exceed the original goal of 100 km/L fuel economy by 10 km/L. VW recently invited a small group of journalists to drive the car in Wolfsburg, Germany, giving them a chance to peep some of the more nuanced fuel-saving features and find out how the final production vehicles drive. The verdict form PluginCars.com is that while the XL1 most certainly wasn’t built to appeal to the mainstream, its single-minded focus on reducing inefficiencies provides a unique look into the future of automotive transportation. The most noticeably deviant feature of the XL1 compared to other cars is its shape. With a wider front that tapers off into a teardrop-like rear, the XL1 was designed to be among the most aerodynamic vehicles ever on the road. A coefficient of drag of just 0.19 blows production plug-ins like the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt (which both have a 0.28 coefficient,) and the Tesla Model S (0.24) out of the water. Another measure Volkswagen undertook to reduce drag was the elimination of side and rearview mirrors in favor of cameras that display on screens inside of the cockpit. This approach saves weight and drag on the vehicle, and is an example of a feature that may see its way onto production vehicles from a number of carmakers in the future. Full-sized power windows have also been replaced by small, hand-cranked miniature sub-windows which exist as part of the full window glass on the driver and passenger-side doors. This kind of feature, as well as minimal sound-proofing that makes every bump and acceleration audible to those inside of the cabin, is likely a sacrifice that would be unacceptable to mass-market consumers. For Volkswagen though, the XL1 is still largely a test vehicle, even if 250 will soon be made available on the European market. What the company learns from its experience with the XL1 though will likely pave the way for a number of future fuel-saving innovations available to the greater market.
If you’ve been following our posts about the School Garden Project at Helen Bernstein High School, we are glad to be able show you the wonderful final outcome. Initially, the school was was built on concrete grounds. With the addition of the school garden, it has been transformed into a lush greenspace where students, teachers and parents can learn not only how to grow their own vegetables but also be encouraged to eat healthy.
Watch the following video as members Toyota of Hollywood, LAcarGUY and Environmental Media Associations Young Hollywood celebrated the completion of the school garden project. Celebrities, Lance Bass, Amy Smart, Dawn Olivieri, and Alison Sudol were on hand to celebrate with the students and faculty of Helen Bernstein High School: