According to the US Department of Energy, manufacturing uses more than 1/3 of all the energy consumed in the US. If not addressed, escalating energy costs can have a major impact on the global competitiveness of manufacturers. It is estimated that manufacturing plants can achieve savings of 20%, and 30% of these saving can be realized without significant capital investment.
Energy consumption by sector (Total consumption: 98,156 trillion BTU)
Energy efficient practices are aligned with lean manufacturing and continuous improvement principles. Energy efficiency is not just about reducing utility bills, it is also about boosting revenue through greater productivity.
Best energy savings technologies for high-value, end-product manufacturing
Initiatives that provide the largest, quickest payback with the lowest risk
|Emerging technology||Simple payback*
|Likelihood of success|
|Advanced lighting techniques||1.3||High|
|Advanced lighting design||3.0||Medium|
|Compressed air system management||0.4||Medium**|
|Motor system optimization||1.5||Medium**|
|Pump efficiency improvement||3.0||Medium**|
* "Payback" refers to the number of years it takes for an investment to pay for itself through the savings it creates.
** Better likelihood if complemented by improved procedures / behaviors
Source: Adapted from ACEEE
The best way to initiate an energy management program is to start with a plant-wide audit of energy consumption. Audits are often free through utiliities suppliers, state energy offices, and university-based industrial assistance programs.