Manufacturing is often regarded as the heart and soul of American industry – and very energy-intensive. The industrial sector is the largest energy user in the U.S. economy, consuming about one-third of all U.S. energy demand, with manufacturing accounting for the vast majority of this energy consumption. It should come as no surprise that the states with the highest levels of manufacturing, in areas like the Southeast and Midwest, are also among those that can realize the greatest emission reductions and energy savings with industrial energy efficiency. By increasing the efficiency of the industrial sector, states can get nearly one-third of the way toward compliance with the federal Clean Power Plan. Reductions in energy use by American industries could profoundly reshape energy demand and cut air pollution nationwide.
This untapped potential is a major reason why the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency is participating in the inaugural Energy Efficiency Day – today, October 5. Energy Efficiency Day is a collaborative effort of regional and national organizations working to promote energy efficiency. You can tune into the conversation this week at the #EEDay2016 hashtag or by following @EEDay2016 on Twitter.
Before we build new power plants, we should look at what’s right under our nose. Our recent report indicates that those in the mining, manufacturing, agricultural, and construction industries can achieve significant cost savings and pollution reduction through combined heat and power (CHP) and waste heat to power (WHP). Companies that adopt CHP and WHP can use the cost savings to invest in innovation to better compete in the global marketplace. These industries will enjoy other positive ripple effects, benefiting not just the companies themselves but also electricity consumers and utilities. With a boost in industrial energy efficiency, businesses would save $298 million in avoided electricity purchases, and the emissions reduction by 2030 would be the equivalent of 46 coal-fired power plants.
Improving energy efficiency is smart for business. According to the EPA, U.S. businesses could save $40 billion on energy by improving the efficiency of all commercial buildings and industry by just 10 percent. Last year, operators of nearly 400 industrial sites took the EPA Energy Star challenge, achieving an average of a 20 percent reduction in energy intensity and conserving over 66 trillion BTU hours of energy. Programs like these help us continue down the path we’re already on with industrial energy efficiency. Today, the U.S. industrial sector produces about 40 percent more goods using the same amount of energy than it did in 1980, thanks in part to energy efficiency.
Few, if any, businesses can afford to waste money. Industrial energy efficiency is a way for industries to unlock greater performance and eliminate waste. We invite you to join the conversation through an Energy Efficiency Day Twitter chat from 1-2pm EDT/10-11am PDT today, October 5. Tune in to engage and learn more by following the #EEDay2016 hashtag. Happy Energy Efficiency Day!