Cummins’ Columbus Engine Plant Improves Environmental Performance through IDEM ESP Program

[Post author: Wayne Duke]

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has recognized Cummins Inc.’s Columbus Engine Plant (CEP) as an Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) member for its proactive environmental management achievements in 2008.

Last year, the plant, which assembles heads and blocks for heavy-duty diesel engines, fulfilled its ESP commitment to complete several lighting projects, including replacing 1,931 older, less efficient lights with 50 percent fewer but more energy-efficient lights.  This project saved $158,461 in electricity costs and avoided more than 1,800 metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per year.   To put the energy savings into perspective, the 2.6 gigawatts saved is enough to power 225 average U.S. households for one year.

In addition to the lighting retrofit project, CEP sought alternative methods for the disposal of 500,000 square feet of concrete flooring that was demolished to make way for the construction of a new light-duty diesel engine assembly line.  Instead of putting the material in a landfill, the clean concrete was used to stabilize a heavily-eroded stream bank located near the plant.  More than 870 dump truck loads of material were saved from disposal in the landfill.

“Our obligation as an employer and responsible community citizen is to lead activities like these that improve our environment,” said Dana Vogt, Manufacturing Leader for the Engine Business unit on Cummins Health, Safety and Environmental Council.  “The efforts by the CEP team once again demonstrates the work they do serves as a benchmark not only within Cummins, but for other businesses as well.   And like so many environmental projects, these also have significant economic benefits.

“What is particularly exciting about these efforts and others like them under way in the Company is the opportunity for employee participation,” continued Vogt.  “We not only promote these improvements within our facilities, but encourage our employees to take the skills and ideas and put them into practice at home.  Cummins is proud to be a part of this community and will continue to do our part to make it a great place to live and work.”

Cummins’ Columbus Engine Plant is one of 46 Indiana businesses that are ESP members. ESP is a voluntary environmental performance-based leadership program.  Each ESP member is committed to implementing or maintaining measurable environmental improvements, such as reducing water or energy use, decreasing solid or hazardous waste or reducing air emissions.

To become an ESP member, businesses must maintain an exemplary compliance record, certify that they have adopted and implemented an approved environmental management system and commit to specific measures for continued improvement in their environmental performance.

ESP members qualify for expedited permit review, flexibility in permitting, reduced reporting frequencies, and coordination of compliance inspections.  To maintain ESP membership, companies must report on their environmental initiatives every year and reapply for membership every three years.

“ESP members go beyond environmental requirements that protect Hoosiers and our environment,” said IDEM Commissioner Thomas Easterly.  “Cummins Columbus Engine Plant has shown exemplary performance and strong commitment to continued improvement.  Indiana wins when companies use sound business practices to demonstrate their core value of environmental protection.”

Hoosier businesses can apply for ESP recognition from September 1 through October 31.  For details about the program and an application, visit IDEM’s Web site at or contact IDEM at (800) 988-7901.

Spotlight: Clean Manufacturing Technology Institute

Continuing our focus on Indiana P2 programs, the Clean Manufacturing Technology Institute (CMTI), based at Purdue University, provides technical assistance, outreach, education, planning services and research to facilitate the adoption of pollution prevention/clean manufacturing strategies by Indiana manufacturing facilities.

CMTI offers assistance in all manufacturing sectors, but has special expertise in plastics (including fiber reinforced plastic), wood products, metal finishing, metal and plastic coatings, foundries and motor vehicle parts manufacturing.

CMTI co-founded (in 1996), and continues to manage, the Coating Applications Research Laboratory (CARL) on the Purdue campus. The lab allows manufacturers to test state-of-the-art coating and curing technologies under the guidance of CMTI engineers expert in their application. CMTI also offers ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems (EMS) services businesses and government entities. Training and energy efficiency assessments are also provided by CMTI.

Check out the CMTI web site for an archive of Technology Transfer/Pollution Prevention Case Studies. You can also browse the CMTI Clearinghouse Bibliography online.