Industrial Utility Efficiency    

Energy Manager

Manufacturers familiar with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR® Energy Treasure Hunts initiative know it’s a great way to save energy and natural resources – as long as it’s done right – which is why some are turning to perhaps their best asset to achieve success: their unionized workforce.

Corporate Sustainability Programs

Challenging teams of employees to generate energy savings while having a good time in the process is the idea behind Saint-Gobain’s “Compress It,” which is the name given to the company’s competition and ongoing effort to reduce compressed air energy and costs. The initiative, which Saint-Gobain rolled out to manufacturing plants throughout North America in 2018, has been met with success. Compress It identified potential energy savings amounting to 26 Gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity and $2.5 million.
How does 3M work with energy? What can other companies learn from their experience? I brought these questions to Andrew Hejnar, Energy Manager of 3M Canada, and the results of our conversation are shared in this interview article.
Since 2002, Energy Trust of Oregon has saved and generated 728 average megawatts of electricity and 52 million annual therms of natural gas. This is enough energy to power Multnomah and Washington counties while heating Deschutes County homes. ETO has saved enough energy equal to the output of a power plant and reduced reliance on fossil fuels. In total, they have invested $1.5 billion to save customers more than $6.9 billion on their energy bills over time. They have also added $5.7 billion to the local economy, including $1.7 billion in wages, $312 million in small business income and employment equal to 4,700 full-time jobs lasting a decade.
The WEEC is the largest energy conference and technology expo held in the U.S. specifically for business, industrial and institutional energy users. Widely known for its recognized energy certification programs, including the Certified Energy Manager CEM® program, the AEE has led the development of the fields of energy engineering and energy management since its’ founding in 1977.
Paying close attention to compressed air use is paramount for identifying potential energy-saving projects. The engineering team at Ball Corporation has been well aware of this fact for years. An active member in the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® program, Ball Corporation scrutinizes manufacturing processes to maximize the energy efficiency of compressed air systems in each of its plants.
In many parts of the country—and especially the Pacific Northwest—interest has surged in completing energy-saving compressed air system upgrades. The financial assistance from incentive programs, combined with the falling costs of efficiency-increasing technology, has made these projects very attractive to all those involved. The benefits for society, power companies and customers are immense.
Imagine a dairy farm. Do pictures of idyllic pastures populated by grazing, happy cows come to mind? What about the not-so-idyllic image of farmers milking cows by hand? Modern dairy farms work a little differently. Darigold, a farmer-owned dairy co-op located in the Pacific Northwest, has the happy cows, but production is more sophisticated. The company has eleven state-of-the-art production facilities churning out high-quality dairy products at mind-boggling rates. Milk, for instance, is produced to the tune of 2.6 million gallons per day. To maintain efficient production at scale, Darigold also has an innovative energy management program in place.
Nissan North America operates on a massive scale. The company’s powertrain assembly plant in Decherd, Tennessee, alone encompasses 1.1 million square feet, and manufactures engines for 14 different vehicles. The facility also handles crankshaft forgings, cylinder block castings, and other machining applications. Over the course of one year, the powertrain plant churns out approximately 1.4 million engines, an equal number of crankshaft forgings, and 456,000 cylinder block castings.
Making cement is an energy-intensive process. In a cement plant, the electrical energy load can reach up to 25 MW, consuming 185 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually. In addition, the plant consumes a large amount of coal and natural gas. CalPortland is an enormous producer of cement, concrete, aggregates and asphalt. With 80 facilities spanning five states across the western U.S., one might logically assume that CalPortland consumes a lot of energy.
Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazine interviewed Michael Jones, Corporate Energy Team Leader, from Intertape Polymer Group (IPG). Intertape Polymer Group (IPG) is a manufacturer of tapes, films, woven fabrics, and complementary packaging systems for industrial and consumer use. The company operates 10 production plants and employs approximately 1,800 people. IPG has developed a robust energy management program by using ENERGY STAR energy management tools and actively participating in the ENERGY STAR partnership. IPG is receiving ENERGY STAR recognition for the growth of its energy program and leadership as a medium-sized manufacturer.
This is our first time receiving the award. We were hopeful we would receive it because we thought we achieved 23 out of the 23 attributes defined by the guidelines. Additionally, since the program was launched, GEM’s management practices have saved Corning more than $328 million in cumulative energy costs.