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A carbon audit for the Renault Trucks site at Blainville

Renault Trucks recently completed a carbon audit of its site at Blainville. Every activity involving greenhouse gas emissions was closely scrutinised throughout the year - logistics, assembly, staff travel, etc. This has allowed Renault Trucks to now measure the impact of its investments in terms of CO2 emission reductions, define new initiatives to implement and anticipate future legislation in terms of CO2 emission restrictions.

How many kilos of CO2 are saved by modernising a production tool? What volume of emissions is associated with the travel of 2,500 staff members in a year? What measures should be introduced to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a manufacturing plant? All these questions are answered by carrying out a Bilan Carbone® (Carbon Audit).

This method, patented by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe), to measure an activity's CO2 emissions, was chosen by Renault Trucks to assess the impact made by its Blainville-sur-Orne (Normandy) production plant on the environment. This site employs a workforce of 2,500, produces over 40,000 truck cabs and assembles 7,000 vehicles every year. Many investments have been made at the site since 2007 and carrying out a carbon audit was a unique opportunity to measure the positive effects on the environment resulting from the modernisation of its plant and equipment.

After a year of work, and thanks to the mobilisation of some 50 people at Blainville and in the company, the plant now has an accurate picture of the main sources of CO2 at its site, as well as the reductions resulting from the investments that have been made there.

For example, the complete renovation of the cab paint shop in 2010 has enabled this unit to reduce its CO2 emissions by as much as 6,500 t (equivalent) a year. In practical terms, these results have been obtained via a 70°C reduction in the paint baking temperature, by optimising the machines' consumption of electricity and robotising some of the processes to cut paint consumption.

Calculating a Bilan Carbone® also includes emissions related to the logistics of parts, cabs and trucks which enter and leave the plant every day. By optimising the loads of trucks carrying the cabs manufactured at Blainville to their assembly sites, Renault Trucks saves a CO2 equivalent of 370 t a year. 

But optimising tools and working methods are not the only areas in which a production plant like Blainville-sur-Orne can act. For energy consumption in the broadest sense of the term remains the most significant source of the site's CO2 emissions. Many measures have therefore also been introduced to limit energy consumption during production but also when production is halted (at nights and weekends). Initiatives to raise staff awareness of these issues have also been taken, so that they understand the importance of switching off machines or lights that serve no purpose, lowering heating to the bare necessity in the day, at night, during weekends or holiday periods and switching off computers when leaving in the evening ("just like at home"). Following the same line, promoting car-sharing and reducing the use of cars for travelling between work and home is a significant source of savings, since they can add up to a CO2 equivalent of as much as 150 t a year.

Carrying out this Bilan Carbone® allows Renault Trucks to anticipate changes in legislation with regard to the measurement of CO2 emissions and be ready to carry out a diagnosis of greenhouse gas emissions for all its sites in 2012. This will be in line with the various initiatives taken by Renault Trucks to reduce the impact of its manufacturing activities on the environment, such as its deployment of an environmental management system at its plants since the 2000s, the ISO 14001 certification of all its sites and the increasing use of renewable energies at Bourg en Bresse and Saint-Priest.

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