WHEN MAGNA’S NEW GLOBAL ENERGY TEAM MET FOR THE FIRST TIME LAST DECEMBER IN AURORA, ONTARIO, IT WAS AN UPLIFTING AND EMOTIONAL MOMENT.
“It was important to meet in person to get everybody’s ideas from the different regions and to create a bond,” said Senka Donches, Magna’s manager of energy efficiencies for the Americas. “We brainstormed, collaborated, and put together a global game plan so we have a common reporting system. As a team, we are here to help the plants that need a little support in achieving energy savings.”
Team members are drawn from among the Magna corporate offices and 340 divisions around the world. They include: Markus Binder, Magna’s energy manager for Europe; Rajesh Gavali in India; Francisco Cano in Mexico, and Yam Ling in Asia.
Building awareness about the need for energy savings in a wide range of categories from LED lighting to natural gas use is a top priority.
A “project tracking list” designed by the team will help each Magna plant quantify its progress in energy savings by following the cost of each improvement, expected savings, and when the project was completed. Each project will be given a green, yellow or red designation, showing if a project is finished, in process or not yet started. Other plants will have access to the list.
“It’s about sharing ideas and providing case studies,” Donches explained. “If a plant gets the highest ‘green’ designation, other divisions can study the results and benchmark the plant. If a plant in China is doing something great, we need to be aware of it in Canada and other places, and apply the lessons.”
While there are no specific energy cost-saving targets or timelines for individual divisions, Donches said all plants are required to do a minimum of two energy-saving projects per year, according to Mafact guidelines.
“It’s important to have energy champions and a Global Energy Team within the company, so we are all aligned in the way we track and report,” Donches said. “The main focus is saving cost which, in turn, reduces our emissions and aids in helping to save the environment. Energy is a controllable cost. It’s in our hands.”
The main focus is saving cost which, in turn, reduces our emissions and aids in helping to save the environment. Energy is a controllable cost. It’s in our hands
LEFT TO RIGHT: Rajesh Gavali, Yam Link, Senka Donches, Markus Binder and Francisco Cano
An Energy Champion at Home
Senka Donches has been an energy champion within Magna for the past 11 years; she’s also an energy champion at home in Ontario, Canada.
A proponent of “buying local,” Donches said she does things like buying eggs directly from a nearby farm. Local food proponents say that food grown close to home helps prevent global warming because it requires less fossil fuels to transport, generating fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventionally produced food.
“I lived in a rural area growing up, and buying local is something I learned very early,” she said.
Sustainability to Donches also means growing a vegetable garden full of tomatoes and peppers, and composting all biodegradable household items.
“I compost and recycle everything,” she said. “Very little garbage ends up on my curb.”
All of the lights in her home are LEDs, and most of her outdoor lights are solar LEDs.
She taught her sons to recycle and be aware of “time of use” guidelines in the province, which advise residents to take advantage of cheaper electricity and gas rates by doing laundry on weekends and not running the dishwasher until after peak-usage hours.
“My role in the company and at home generally focuses on energy savings for cost reasons,” Donches said. “But whatever projects we do save the environment as well.”
Senka Donches, Magna’s manager of energy efficiencies for the Americas.