Utilities an excellent resource for manufacturers
Looking for help in reducing energy costs? Look on your plant's electric bill
By Marc Hoffmann
Executive Director, Consortium for Energy Efficiency
Recent economic, energy, and environmental trends may seem disheartening, but industrial facilities are increasingly recognizing that there’s an opportunity in connecting energy performance, profitability, and future competitiveness. In recognition of this opportunity, more and more customers are making continuous improvement in energy performance a management priority by integrating energy into their management systems.
While energy management can include a whole host of measures and approaches, includingConsortium for Energy Efficiency, several utilities are working to further define opportunities for customers to adopt energy management techniques. In particular we have been following energy management developments in the following three areas.
Local Efficiency Programs —A growing number of local, utility-sponsored efficiency programs are working with commercial and industrial customers to support the adoption of energy management techniques. Thus far, 13 CEE members, including BC Hydro, WI Focus on Energy, Ontario Power Authority, and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, are supporting energy management through their programs. These programs reflect a wide range of objectives and approaches—from customer education and training, to management diagnostics and analysis, to helping customers draft energy management policies and action plans.
National Level — Since 2000, U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR has been working with industrial and commercial companies to adopt energy management at the corporate level. ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management describes a seven step process for senior-level managers to improve energy and financial performance on a consistent basis while distinguishing their organization as an environmental leader.
Through the U.S. Plant Energy Efficiency Certification Program, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and others are working to develop an ANSI-accredited, voluntary program for industrial customers to measure energy consumption and validate energy intensity improvements over time. The three main building blocks proposed for plant certification include:
International Level —the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has approved the creation of a project committee to develop an international standard on energy management (ISO 50001). As the secretariat of ISO/PC 242, ANSI has formed a United States Technical Advisory Group (U.S. TAG) to develop a national consensus on energy management and communicate the U.S. position to ISO. The future ISO 50001 standard provides a management framework for industrial plants and commercial facilities that could influence up to 60 percent of world energy use. The ISO 50001 energy management standard is scheduled for publication by the end of 2010.
These activities, at the local, national, and international levels, emphasize the universal opportunity for senior management to support continuous energy improvement within their company, regardless of size or business sector. Equally fundamental is realizing that the key to energy management is the same concept that makes your business successful in general%%MDASSML%% making the commitment . The first step toward continuous improvement is to make energy management a priority to which your company is committed. There are many resources available to assess energy performance and help you begin the continuous improvement process, but it all starts with making the commitment.
The Consortium for Energy Efficiency is a nonprofit organization that develops energy efficiency initiatives with its member utilities. CEE members include utilities, statewide and regional market transformation administrators, environmental groups, research organizations and state energy offices in the U.S. and Canada. To help identify efficiency programs offered by its member utilities, CEE has prepared summaries of efficiency programs by sector. These summaries are easy to use, can be searched by region or utility name, and are available at the CEE Web site www.cee1.org/resrc/prog-sum.php3 .
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After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.