KYB Americas is taking part in a federal pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030.

The company and its Franklin headquarters are already well on their way to reducing emissions by that level with several projects completed or soon to be underway, local leadership said.

KYB is one of more than 90 companies around the country that have taken the pledge to meet the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Climate Challenge. KYB is joined by other inaugural partners for the pledge, including automotive giants Nissan, Toyota, Ford Motor Company and General Motors.

DOE is challenging organizations to set ambitious, portfolio-wide GHG emission reduction goals. The challenge provides opportunities for peer exchange and technical assistance to meet the call to mitigate the impacts of climate change, according to the department’s website.

KYB Americas manufactures shocks and struts for carmakers in the North America and around the globe. The company is a subsidiary of KYB Global, which is based in Japan. North American operations run two locations in Johnson County—a Franklin manufacturing facility and an aftermarket distribution center in Greenwood.

This pledge renews KYB’s commitment to counteracting greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and at its facilities across the globe, said Lance Clark, KYB Americas vice president of administration. The company took an earlier federal climate pledge in 2016 and has already reduced its greenhouse gas footprint by 15%, he said.

“While we are 100% American and our parts are 100% made in America, we are still a subsidiary or a very, very large Japanese company,” Clark said. “The Japanese have always had a strong commitment to the environment. We are an extension of that.”

As an auto parts manufacturer and one of the largest employers in Johnson County, KYB Americas makes it a priority to give back to the environment and community by taking this pledge, Clark said.

“It shows our continued commitment and collaboration with the community,” Clark said. “It shows the positive and negative impact that we have on the county. We are one of the largest employers in the county but we also produce greenhouse gasses and we want to offset that.”

Efficiency improvements have been made so far at the Franklin plant include installing LED lighting, a water reclamation system and installing energy-efficient cooling towers, chillers and pumps, said David Kemmerer, the Franklin plant’s facility manager.

The biggest energy saver by far, making up about 50% of the savings, is the Franklin plant’s new HVAC system, which includes a Daikin magnetic bearing centrifugal chiller, Kemmerer said. Another big saver is the facility’s air master control system that resulted in 30% of the energy savings, he said.

As a result of water reclamation efforts, in 2019 the Franklin plant was named Industrial Plant of the Year for Waste Water Quality by the Indiana Industrial Operators Association. That year, the plant only discharged 40% of its total waste water usage, and Jerry Reamer, KYB Americas director of production engineering, was named the 2019 Industrial Waste Water Operator of the Year.

The savings will continue to add up with the company’s participation in the DOE Better Climate Challenge. Plans to further reduce emissions include purchasing renewable energy contracts from Duke Energy and a possible on-site solar array, which would provide up to 20% energy emissions savings, Kemmerer said.

The solar array would be placed at the Franklin plant on the front lawn alongside U.S. 31. However, plans would have to be approved by both the utility and the city before the plan can proceed, Kemmerer said.

This story was updated to correct two typographical errors.