April 22, 2014 , Belvidere, Ill. - Chrysler Group’s Belvidere Assembly Plant (Ill.) has 1.3 million reasons to celebrate on Earth Day because that was the amount of the rebate check it received today from Nicor Gas, the plant's natural gas provider.

The check, presented during a ceremony at the plant with local leaders, employees and executives of both companies in attendance, represented the savings achieved as a result of the implementation of three natural gas-saving projects. It is the largest cumulative incentive ever awarded by the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program.

Chrysler Group’s Head of Assembly Operations Zachary Leroux and Belvidere Plant Manager Eric Schimmel accepted the check on behalf of Company.

“As one of the largest energy consumers in the region, Chrysler Group is an active participant in the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program, which provides meaningful incentives for business to reduce gas consumption through investments in new technologies and systems,” said Leroux. “This program coupled with our World Class Manufacturing operating system has resulted in creative, energy-saving solutions that will pay dividends for years to come.”

Beth Reese, Nicor Gas President, acknowledged the Company’s commitment to using natural gas in an efficient manner.

“We are pleased to recognize Chrysler Group for its commitment to saving energy and money through the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program,” said Reese. “We applaud their efforts, which have earned a $1.3 million return and also are helping to bring our program closer to reaching its energy goals.”

The Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program offers financial rebates to customers who install qualifying natural gas-saving products, including furnaces, boilers, water heaters and steam traps. The program also offers financial rebates up to pre-approved customers who develop a customized natural gas reduction project for their businesses.

Implemented in 2013, Belvidere's three energy conservation projects will save nearly 2.5 million therms annually or the equivalent of the energy used in 1,000 homes for one year. They include:
  • Cascade Air, which involves reusing heated air in more than one location in the plant. In simple terms, rather than using natural gas to continually heat cold outside air to a comfortable working temperature, we supplement cold outside air with warm plant air, using less natural gas for heating. The rebate for this project was $400,000.
  • The installation of 34 variable frequency drive motors on direct gas-fired air handling units. In order to maintain a working temperature inside the plant, all air supply motors would either be completely off or operating at 100% capacity.  This project, which generated a $323,000 rebate, enables proportional speeds to reduce the volume of heated air supplied to the plant.
  • Chrysler Group used the $500,000 incentive from Nicor to defray costs on a $1.3 million project to upgrade hardware and install new software to connect and control 25 air supply units and numerous general and process exhaust fans as part of an improved Energy Management System. This integrated control system facilitates plant-wide air balance and non-production heating setbacks to reduce natural gas use.

Chrysler Group also received a 30 percent bonus on two of the projects as they were identified in a Nicor assessment. 

“The savings that have been generated through these projects are truly immeasurable and are representative of the dedication with which the Belvidere workforce tackles any challenge,” said Schimmel.

In addition, Belvidere Assembly has accomplished significant year-over-year environmental improvements, including a 12.7 percent reduction in water use, a 5.6 percent reduction in waste generation, and a 9.5 percent reduction in total energy consumption, which includes natural gas and electricity.
The Belvidere Assembly Plant, located about 60 miles west of Chicago, is home to the Dodge Dart, Jeep® Compass and Jeep Patriot. In 2013, the plant built more than 325,000 vehicles with nearly 4,500 employees, working two 10-hour shifts, six days per week.
FCA US LLC is a North American automaker based in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It designs, manufactures, and sells or distributes vehicles under the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram, FIAT and Alfa Romeo brands, as well as the SRT performance designation. The Company also distributes Mopar and Alfa Romeo parts and accessories. FCA US is building upon the historic foundations of Chrysler Corp., established in 1925 by industry visionary Walter P. Chrysler and Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (F.I.A.T.), founded in Italy in 1899 by pioneering entrepreneurs, including Giovanni Agnelli. FCA US is a member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) family of companies. (NYSE: FCAU/ MTA: FCA).

FCA is an international automotive group listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “FCAU” and on the Mercato Telematico Azionario under the symbol “FCA.”

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