Don’t wait for regulations; address global warming today

It can be a confusing world out there when it comes to energy. Climate change, rising energy costs, availability and new energy technologies all vie for our time and attention. In such an environment it is tempting to 'wait and see’ how these energy-related issues will ultimately be resolved before making any long-term decisions.


It can be a confusing world out there when it comes to energy. Climate change, rising energy costs, availability and new energy technologies all vie for our time and attention. In such an environment it is tempting to 'wait and see’ how these energy-related issues will ultimately be resolved before making any long-term decisions.

One consequence of this wait-and-see approach is addressing energy only in a crisis, which does not afford full consideration of true costs and long-term impacts. This environment leads to waste and lost competitiveness. While dialogue on national policy related to global warming is far from over, businesses don’t need to wait to assess their options and invest in energy management. Policy discussions underway recognize early adopters should not be penalized.

Commercial and industrial managers can better handle the turbulence wrought by today’s volatile energy markets by managing their energy use and costs both proactively and continuously. Energy efficiency has emerged as a cornerstone of their strategies.

'Energy efficiency’ refers to technologies and standard operating procedures that reduce the volume of energy per unit of production. And, the very activities that provide energy efficiency also provide better control over company assets and operations. Proactive energy management can put into place technologies and practices that not only reduce energy consumption and address global warming, but also optimize operations and reduce future energy costs.

The time has come for each company’s leaders to seek out efficiency opportunities within their organizations. A first and necessary step is to understand and manage the organization’s energy use profile. Every manager wishing to initiate a far-reaching energy management strategy should begin with a facility-wide audit of energy consumption. This activity generates an inventory of energy-using devices, a map of energy flows and ratios of energy use to production units.

Once the 'where, what and when’ of energy consumption is understood, long-term, cost-effective decisions for the future can be justified. Savvy managers will educate themselves and their staffs about efficiency opportunities, where to look and how to assess which ones are worth the effort.

Implementation support can be found in a multitude of places. In addition to the resources available from the EPA’s ENERGY STAR for Industry Website ( ) and DOE’s Industrial Technologies Program, ( ), local energy efficiency programs are available in many U.S. states and Canadian provinces.

A manager without a handle on energy consumption is essentially driving blindfolded on the twisting, turning road of today’s energy marketplace. Managers needn’t wait to take control. The road to energy management and continuous improvement begins with a facility-wide energy audit. The next steps are to identify appropriate goals and map out a workable route to implement these improved management and energy use reduction strategies over time.

Tap existing resources from EPA, DOE and local efficiency programs to help you along the way. The important thing is to get started. Capture benefits today and be well-prepared for the uncertainties of tomorrow.

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
SCCR, 2018 Maintenance study, and VFDs in a washdown environment.
Welding ergonomics, 2017 Salary Survey, and surge protection
2017 Top Plant winner, Best practices, Plant Engineering at 70, Top 10 stories of 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Setting internal automation standards
Knowing how and when to use parallel generators
PID controllers, Solar-powered SCADA, Using 80 GHz radar sensors

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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