GE: Reducing the water consumption of operation with 30% in 3 years

by: Mirjam Visser, 2010-12-06 03:15:09 UTC
Sustainability Aspects: Reducing water consumption of factories by kaizen, continuously improving by multi-disciplinary teams

The Story


From GE’s Ecomagination 2009 report

As discussed in last year’s report, at our largest water-consuming site, we identified that water use had been substantially higher in 2008 than originally estimated. We identified this through the use of GE Sensing Ultrasonic flow meters which were installed that year and helped us better quantify actual flow use at the facility. As a result of this discovery, we reevaluated the total flow for this site during the 2006 baseline year and concluded that it was 2.2 billion gallons more than previously estimated. This conclusion was validated through a review by an external, independent engineering firm.
In addition to the adjusted 2006 flow data, several significant steps to reduce water consumption were taken, including improved valve operation, opportunities to replace older single-speed pumps with new variable frequency drive pumps, control valves and closed loop cooling opportunities. As a result, testing operations at the site have since been conducted more efficiently using significantly less water than historical practices.

2006 Total: 15.3 billion gallons Once-Through Cooling: 8.9 billion gallons

2009 Total: 10.7 billion gallons Once-Through Cooling: 5.4 billion gallons

What did we do?

  • We conducted Kaizen blitz water reduction events at three of our largest water-consuming sites. The Kaizen approach assembles multi-functional teams who spend a concentrated week monitoring and assessing how water is used at a facility, ultimately developing water reduction projects including associated financial benefits
  • Production decreased at some facilities due to economic conditions. Due to the enormous success of the Kaizen blitz activities in 2009, we will continue to conduct these events at those sites using the most significant quantities of water across the company, with six events planned for 2010.

Another action under way will potentially reduce GE’s global water use by an estimated five percent through
a large project at one of our United States plants utilizing GE Water & Process Technology equipment including nanofiltration and ultrafiltration technologies to recycle and reuse water. We anticipate the new system will be operational by 2012.
In addition, because of the substantial readjustment to the 2006 water use baseline, we will reevaluate further
modifications to GE’s long-term water reduction goal.

Product: factories
Designer: na
Manufacturer: GE
Category: Water saving


by GE

Comments by our Users

Be the first to write a comment for this item.


@ D4S, a platform by designers for designers, sharing ideas and knowledge on sustainable design
Learn more |  Leave Feedback
We are not-for-profit and want a trustworthy, independent site without advertisements.

If you like to use D4S please donate to enable us to pay hosting fees and extend the site. Thank you for your support!
Join us on LinkedIn