GM's Energy Stars: Lorenzo Blagrove, Baltimore Operations

GM's Energy Stars: Lorenzo Blagrove, Baltimore Operations

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Recognizing Energy Stars who have helped @GM save $435M in energy costs, like Lorenzo Blagrove, GM Baltimore Ops

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Lorenzo Blagrove, Site Utilities Manager, Baltimore Operations

Lorenzo Blagrove, Site Utilities Manager, Baltimore Operations

GM Baltimore Operations builds upon its environmental achievements with the addition of 580 kilowatts of solar, a 15.5 percent reduction in energy intensity and LEED Silver Certification at its e-Motor building, where the Chevrolet Spark electric drive motor is built.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - 12:45pm

CAMPAIGN: GM Energy Efficiency


All this week, we will be recognizing employees from our U.S. facilities who have helped GM realize $435 million in energy savings by reducing energy intensity by 40 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by 41 percent over the last 20 years.

Name: Lorenzo Blagrove
Title: Site Utilities Manager
Facility: Baltimore Operations (now a mechanical engineer at the GM Warren Technical Center)
Length of time at GM: 3 years

1. What led you to pursue a career in energy management?
I’m a mechanical engineer, but I also filled the role of site utilities manager at Baltimore Operations because I have a passion for reducing waste and driving sustainability. I’m familiar with heating, cooling and lighting systems and electrical distribution, so with that background and the passion to do it, I was able to leverage the right personnel and resources to reduce energy consumption.

2. What benefits – financial, environmental or others – have you realized at the plant since reducing energy usage?
We reduced our energy intensity, or cost per unit produced, making our business more productive and profitable.

Reducing our energy also gave us a more environmentally conscious persona in the Baltimore community and throughout Maryland. The state of Maryland is big on energy reduction and green initiatives. We’ve received awards and grants from the Maryland Energy Administration and recognition from the Maryland Green Registry for being a top performer and committed business partner in reducing waste and driving sustainability.

We also work with the Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland as a partner on “Green Team” initiatives. RMI offers grants for energy conservation projects that result in strong paybacks. Projects implemented through the Green Team also help employees to become more energy conscious. 

3. What are some of the ways your facility cut energy intensity to meet the ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry?
We made a number of changes that resulted in an energy intensity reduction of 15.5 percent. We programmed our HVAC systems to GM’s corporate specifications by scheduling temperatures. We fixed compressed air leaks and installed new variable speed drive compressors to match load sizes. We instituted a weekend shut-down and made employees more conscious about turning off pumps, motors and compressed air on weekends or at shift-end. We’ve added motion sensors to the lighting in the new E-Motor facility and automatically allow for conveyor belt time-outs if no parts are loaded onto the belt in a certain period of time.

4. How did you engage employees to cut energy use in their daily jobs?
We regularly recognize employees for energy saving ideas. When we received recognition from the MEA and the Maryland Green Registry, we invited floor personnel to receive the award along with myself and the plant manager because these team members are the ones executing the energy saving actions.

We worked with RMI to develop Green Teams in areas of the plant to consistently give feedback on energy and facilitate ideas for improvement. We continue to implement energy saving projects and drive them to completion to keep them viable – not just one-hit wonders.

Our employees came up with the idea to install motion sensors on the lights in the conference room on the plant floor. This ensures that lights are not left on when no one is using the space.

5. What are some energy best practices you have learned from your colleagues, ENERGY STAR or other partners?
Constantly measure and verify your energy use. See how energy use changes over time and by noting these changes you’ll identify ways to reduce it. We’re also reaping the benefits of having a solar array onsite.

6. How does Baltimore’s large solar capacity impact traditional energy management at the plant?
The 1.81-megawatt array reduces the plant’s demand for traditional energy delivered from the energy company. It also provides a sense of reliability – you don’t have to worry about outages when you’re producing and storing energy yourself. All of the energy generated by the grid is used by the plant. We never produce more than we can consume.

7. What is your best tip for the average consumer looking to reducing energy use – either at home or at work?
It’s similar to what we do in the plant – monitor your utility bills so you understand what your baseline use can be. Use programmable controls – like a programmable thermostat – so you can optimize your settings. There are even apps to control the climate and lighting of your home while you’re away. Make use of these tools!