Case for efficient cooling: Mahindra & Mahindra case study

Mahindra & Mahindra

High cooling costs and corresponding carbon emissions at Mahindra & Mahindra’s (M&M’s) Nagpur plant made the company’s decision to join the EP100 Cooling Challenge easy.

The tractor manufacturing plant was spending about 10% of its electricity bill on cooling, for human comfort and process needs.

Improving the energy efficiency of cooling equipment has helped M&M bring energy costs down:

  • Variable frequency drives and other initiatives are already saving over US$26,000 per year
  • Acting on a recommendation from an ASHRAE Level 1 Audit this year, the company will save more than 227 MWh of energy and US$22,000 annually by using an improved heat transfer fluid in its chillers

By improving its cooling systems, M&M is also reducing emissions, improving worker comfort, and minimising dust and bacteria buildup which can be harmful to manufacturing machinery.

Bringing down emissions

M&M has a goal to be carbon neutral by 2040 across its global operations.

The company focuses on energy efficiency as a major lever to reduce carbon intensity.

The tractor manufacturer has already switched to light-emitting diode lighting (LEDs), which has reduced the plant’s cooling load since LEDs generate less heat. M&M has also reduced duct and pipe leakages, improved insulation (for pipes, ducts, windows, and walls), and optimised operating hours to reduce excess cooling.

All the cooling efficiency measures at the Nagpur plant are already saving more than 535 MtCO2e per year.

The next big changes involve retrofitting larger equipment. The Nagpur plant has most recently:

  • Upgraded 120 air conditioning (AC) units with inverter ACs to reduce their energy use by 8%
  • Replaced 56 fans with brushless DC fans to save 8.4 MWh of electricity and more than 6 MTCO2e per year

The upgrades are part of an efficiency drive across 15 facilities that involves replacing 1,000 air-conditioning units with energy efficient inverter ACs.

Fostering a culture of sustainability

M&M’s strides towards greater cooling efficiency have been made possible by the company’s culture. M&M prioritises sustainability among top-level management and plant staff by setting public climate and energy goals and rewarding those who demonstrate initiative.

The 2040 carbon neutral goal across M&M operations challenges each plant to reduce its carbon intensity by 5% year on year.

To help achieve these emissions cuts annually, each plant has an energy champion that recommends and implements energy savings.

Each plant holds energy conservation meetings every month with team leads, and reviews progress on energy-focused goals for individual staff.

Once a year, the plants host a competition for suggestions on energy efficiency improvements, awarding those with the best ideas. The competition fosters creativity and buy-in towards energy-saving goals at all levels.

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