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.

Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
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.
October 2018
Tools vs. sensors, functional safety, compressor rental, an operational network of maintenance and safety
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
October 2018
Complex upgrades for system integrators; Process control safety and compliance
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

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