John Deere Dubuque Works achieved remarkable results in nearly all of the areas targeted by the company's new Eco-Efficiency Goals, and the plant did it with just one project: the Powerhouse Strategy Deployment.
The project's long list of environmental benefits includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 46%, water usage by 67%, and waste generation by 71%.
Nearly all the gains cascaded from switching its primary fuel.
Since its construction in 1946, the plant had relied on a coal-fired powerhouse to meet its significant energy needs. Switching from coal to natural gas not only was a good environmental decision, but also reduced the cost of fuel and simplified the systems required to produce energy. By switching to natural gas, the plant could cap an onsite landfill that it had used to store waste from coal combustion, clean a foundry pond, and create more than 10 acres of wetlands in an area it had used for cooling water intake.
"The conversion from coal to natural gas at the powerhouse proved to be not only a great business decision," says Russ Eberlin, environmental manager at Dubuque Works, "but also an opportunity to significantly reduce the overall environmental footprint of our operations."
In June 2013, the Powerhouse Strategy Deployment earned the Iowa Governor's Environmental Excellence Award, the state's premier environmental honor.