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Magna Commitment to Sustainability Award Winner: Smart Energy Savings

Consumers who want to reduce their household energy bills often install smart temperature sensors that automatically adjust the heating and cooling system to save money and keep everyone comfortable.

The maintenance team at Formex, a Magna division in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, envisioned doing the same thing – but on a much bigger scale. It was a smart move that earned the division a 2022 Magna Commitment to Sustainability award in the process category.

Today, all of the 130 temperature sensors throughout the facility’s offices and manufacturing operations are controlled by a smart plant-wide HVAC system that keeps everything at a pleasant 73 degrees.

This energy-conscious pilot project has conserved seven million kilowatt hours of electricity at the division that makes chassis components for several automakers. That same amount of electricity would wash 7.8 million loads of laundry or power 50,000 electric vehicles.

“This is such an easy way to conserve energy,” said Pablo Ramirez, the Formex Maintenance Coordinator. “It only takes about three to six months to get it up and running, depending on how much equipment you have in your facility.”

“An easy way to conserve energy.”


Headshot - Pablo Ramirez

Energy Savings

The secret to energy savings is simple: smart temperature sensors turn off the heat and air conditioning more often than regular temperature sensor.

One way that smart temperature sensor can do this is by figuring out when no one is in the office or when areas of an assembly facility are shut down for the weekend, most commonly with motion sensors. When the temperature sensor senses that a space is unoccupied, it will switch to an energy-saving mode. No one has to remember to adjust the setting manually.

Cutting back on energy consumption can have a positive effect far beyond the division.

Reducing the amount of electricity that power plants have to make increases energy security and reduces the pollution that is emitted from non-renewable sources of energy. Even a small change, such as switching to smart temperature sensors, can make a difference, according to Ahmed El Ganzouri, Magna’s Sustainability Director.

Next Steps

Pablo Ramirez credits the Magna core value of being collaborative or the division’s ongoing dedication to sustainability. “You have to work together to accomplish things,” he said.

He plans to share lessons learned on the smart HVAC control system with other Magna divisions.

The next project at Formex will focus on installing smart lighting with software and sensors throughout the division. Past sustainability efforts have included employee participation in a major recycling initiative, along with planting 300 trees in the Sierra Madre mountains.

“We need to think about our children’s future,” Ramirez said. “My daughters, Paola and Vanessa, like to go into the mountains, and want to care for nature. I keep them in mind as I’m working with the team on these projects. That’s why these sustainability steps are important – and why we have to work on them every day.”

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