General Motors Company

At a Glance


Industrial Goods and Manufacturing

Project Type

Industrial Energy Efficiency




Warren, MI


Kevin Cotter developed a tool to monitor the energy use and resulting costs incurred from paint shops.


Kevin Cotter worked with General Motors’ Global Facilities Engineering team this summer to observe and optimize the weekly start-up procedures in five GM North America assembly plants as part of a larger initiative to reduce energy usage throughout the organization.


Many plants, including the ones Cotter visited, had already taken it upon themselves to implement measures to reduce paint shop start-up times by several hours. In some cases, this was a reduction of over 50 percent. Because of this, it became increasingly difficult to identify areas and opportunities for improvement without compromising safety or quality. It soon became apparent though, that GM did not have the ability to track energy usage in its paint shops beyond a macro level.

Identifying this as an opportunity, Cotter worked with Jeffrey Johnson and Bill Wong from Global Facilities to develop a tool for monitoring the energy usage and costs incurred for each system in the paint shop during various plant operation modes, including shutdown, start-up and normal production.

Potential Impact

The level of detail will enable plant managers to target specific systems for future energy reduction projects to maximize benefits, and the versatility of the tool will allow it to be adapted for use in other areas of assembly plants with a minimal level of modification required.

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