Don’t Wait to Innovate: Industry Ramps up Efficiency

“We do not have to wait for an international treaty or new regulations to act,” proclaims Joe Kaiser of Siemen’s Energy as he refers to the responsibility on industry’s shoulders to manage energy with an eye to the future. Siemens, an employer to 340,000, is setting a powerful example for businesses, taking control of its energy use through energy efficiency, meticulous energy management practices, and distributed generation. An example many are eager to follow.

Industry uses the most energy of any other end-use sector on the world stage, accounting for one third of total global energy use. As we’ve extolled before, with great investment comes great responsibility, and the onus now rests on industry to lead the charge with the energy efficiency torch in hand. To echo Kaiser’s sentiment, “[w]e have the technologies, we have the business incentive, and we have the responsibility. Now all we need is the commitment.”

We couldn’t agree more.

The same energy usage pattern holds true when we zoom in on the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, often lauded for its national leadership in accelerating the energy efficiency evolution.  Industry comes in at 31% of overall energy consumption with the transportation (28%), residential (22%), and commercial (19%) sectors following close behind.

Business leaders for energy efficiency, environmental stewardship, corporate citizenship, siemens energy, climate change, energy management, sustainable energy Businesses are beginning to approach their energy management with equal parts corporate citizenship and environmental stewardship and, like Siemens and hundreds of other business leaders, can see the glint of the LED light at the end of the tunnel.

Just last week, Siemens Energy publically announced their commitment to cutting their global carbon footprint in half by 2020 and to make their global operations carbon neutral by 2030, investing an eye-opening $110 million to the effort.

The business base of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region is following suit, especially after the President announced an industrial efficiency executive order back in 2013. Skepticism is giving way to understanding, the mantra of ‘not enough time’ has changed to ‘now’s the time’.

So what exactly does the lay of the land look like from Maine to Maryland?

The industrial sector in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region, comprised of 170,000 manufacturing plants, uses 85 billion kWh annually (enough to power eight million homes for an entire year). What’s more is that of those manufacturing plants, 46% actively engage in energy management practices (defined as certifiable practices and procedures that help businesses continuously improve their energy efficiency), which leaves plenty of room for improvement but is an impressive number nonetheless.

NEEP has seen the progress first hand through the development of 30 case studies over the last five years that highlight industrial business leaders making the shift to sustainable energy practices.

The common denominators throughout them all?

A major shift in perspective, an openness to change, and loads and loads of energy savings (along with manifold other benefits)!

Energy Efficiency Scales

The size of the operation doesn’t have to match that of Coca-Cola, Walmart, or even Siemens to make energy efficiency investments worthwhile.  In fact, many modest-sized business leaders are bearing the brunt of upfront costs of industrial-grade energy efficiency measures to reap the rewards down the road:

  • Aptar, a leader in the global dispensing systems space, created a far reaching policy called Vision 2030 that incorporates environmental sustainability into its every move, saving upwards of 900,000 kWh annually.
  • Sikorsky Aircraft, best known for its BLACK HAWK helicopter, installed a new 10 megawatt combined heat and power cogeneration plant, which produces enough power to supply 84 percent of the facility’s electricity needs and 85 percent of its steam heating needs. 
  • Durgin and Crowell, a family-owned sawmill facility based in Springfield, NH, produces and sells Eastern White Pine lumber saves 10% of their total load with efficiency. D&C employees are more than happy to share stories about their company’s efficiency success, doling out best practices at seminars to other industrial customers.

Whether you sit at the helm of a small sawmill or operate a company with a prominent global footprint, industrial energy efficiency is rarely, if ever, a poor business decision.

Moving Forward

With so much movement in the industrial efficiency space, NEEP, the Department of Energy and an army of business leaders want to keep the conversation going.

Join NEEP for a two-day Summit on Industrial Energy Efficiency featuring a day long training from the Department of Energy on Strategic Energy Management, the 2015 Northeast Business Leaders for Energy Efficiency Celebration and Awards Dinner and the 2015 Industrial Energy Efficiency Workshop which will help to shape the forthcoming Industrial Energy Efficiency Market Assessment and Regional Strategy Recommendation.




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