DETROIT – Imagine heating a building covering 22 Manhattan city blocks or 120 football fields and you understand the task faced by the Metrolina Greenhouses. Helping Metrolina convert its heat source from natural gas to renewable biomass is part of Chevrolet’s commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
As seen in the video, Metrolina displaces fossil fuel by using waste wood from land clearing as an energy source in its Huntersville, N.C. operation. Metrolina’s greenhouse is the largest single-story structure in the United States.
Metrolina anticipates it will use approximately 36,000 tons of waste wood each year.
“As a large-scale operation delivering approximately 70 million plants a year, we’re committed to activities like this that help us become a greener greenhouse,” said Abe VanWingerden, co-CEO of Metrolina Greenhouses. “When our biomass boilers are burning these wood chips, you can’t even tell they’re running.”
Metrolina Greenhouses is one of 16 new projects Chevrolet recently announced it is supporting to prevent up to 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the air during the next five years. The total carbon-reduction goal for all these projects is estimated to equal the 2011 emissions created from driving the 1.9 million vehicles Chevrolet expects to sell in the United States between Nov. 18, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2011.
Chevrolet is developing fuel-efficient vehicles like the Volt electric vehicle with gas-powered extended range capability, the Cruze Eco that gets an EPA-estimated 42 mpg on the highway, and the recently announced future electric Spark minicar (EPA estimates not yet available) while working to reduce the environmental impact of the General Motors’ facilities that make them. The Volt has an EPA estimated 94 MPGe when running on electricity and 35 mpg city or 40 mpg highway when using its gas generator.
Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet Global Marketing and Strategy, said the brand created its carbon-reduction initiative to extend these efforts.
“We believe it’s the right thing to do for the environment and our business,” said Perry. “After all, cars like the Chevy Volt will depend on cleaner energy systems across our communities to achieve their full carbon-reduction potential.”
Consumers also can contribute to Chevrolet’s carbon-reduction initiative by planting a virtual tree on their Facebook walls. For each tree planted up to 175,000, Chevrolet, in partnership with the National Forest Foundation, will plant a real tree in a U.S. forest next year.
Chevrolet is buying carbon reductions to help provide funding for Metrolina Greenhouses and the 16 other projects. Actual carbon reductions will take place over the next five years. They must be reviewed, validated and verified before the investments are completed.