Volkswagen Group of America’s Chattanooga, TN, plant is well-known for being the first automotive manufacturing plant in the world to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in December 2011.

Less well-known is Volkswagen’s use of environmental management software at the plant to eliminate manual entry and collection of air, water and waste data. The software also helps Volkswagen meet the EPA’s automotive Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards.

MACT standards are designed to reduce hazardous air pollutant emissions to a maximum achievable degree, taking into consideration the cost of reductions and other factors. After the EPA adopts a MACT standard at the federal level, the agency’s Regulatory and Compliance Support Unit proposes the same standard for adoption at the state level by the Air Quality Control Division.

“[Environmental data management] was overwhelming because of our large facility,” says Ron Drumeller, environmental air specialist for Volkswagen Chattanooga. “With the software, I can manage the entire facility by myself. We now save 81 percent on our reporting time and $72,000 per year.”

Volkswagen installed the software just prior to the plant’s formal opening in April 2011. ERA Environmental Consulting Inc. makes the software and provides support to the plant’s environmental managers.

Volkswagen engineers use the software to create a virtual model of their plant, along with a chemical inventory to determine the plant’s chemical impact on the environment. Engineers reference the software’s master list of 81,000 chemicals to create this inventory.

Air, water and waste emissions are then automatically calculated based on chemical impact data.

Modules are specifically targeted to major source categories of emissions, including toxic release inventory and greenhouse gases.

The software lets Volkswagen easily track and manage emissions and generate regulatory reports. It also allows Volkswagen to promptly report noncompliance, should the situation arise.

Volkswagen assembles the 2012 Passat at the Chattanooga plant, which cost nearly $1 billion to build. The plant created more than 2,000 jobs in the region and an additional 9,500 construction jobs.

For more information on environmental management software, call 256-232-4437 or visit www.era-environmental.com.