Virginia Manufacturer Keeps Jobs Local by Embracing Energy Efficiency

July 06, 2011

Volvo Trucks' New River Valley (NRV) plant, located in Dublin, Virginia, is the company's largest truck manufacturing facility in the world—and the plant's senior management aims to keep it that way. By embracing energy efficiency as a critical part of its business strategy, the company is realizing huge energy savings as it continues to expand and create local jobs.

Patrick Collignon, plant manager at the NRV facility, understood that the plant's energy use was intricately tied to its competitiveness and overall success. He saw the pursuit of greater energy efficiency as a critical component in the plant's strategy to stay healthy and grow during tough economic times. In December 2009, the company joined DOE's Save Energy Now LEADER initiative, which calls on manufacturers to reduce their facilities' energy intensity by 25% over a 10-year timeframe. Since becoming a LEADER Company, Volvo's NRV plant began tapping into the technical expertise of the Department's Industrial Technologies Program, as well as its own resourcefulness, to supercharge its energy efficiency efforts. As a result, not only did Volvo rise to its LEADER challenge, it far surpassed it—implementing a range of measures that helped to reduce energy intensity by almost 30% in just one year.

The investments Volvo made in energy efficiency have now paid impressive dividends in terms of the company's cost savings, jobs impact, competitiveness, and environmental footprint. Embracing common-sense, but often overlooked energy efficiency measures helped Volvo cut costs and keep operations—and jobs—for its truck manufacturing business here in the United States. Every Volvo truck sold in the United States is built by United Auto Workers-represented workers at the NRV plant. Volvo is now the largest employer in southwestern Virginia with 2,200 employees at its NRV plant. As such, its determination to keep operations—along with the paychecks from those operations—in the United States has helped to bolster the local economy. See the Energy Blog post.