The industrial sector accounts for approximately 30 percent of total U.S. energy usage. Approximately 85 percent of that total is in manufacturing, with the balance used by agriculture, forestry, fisheries, mining and construction. In 2010 the industrial sector employed about 30 million workers, and shipped about $6.2 trillion in goods, with manufacturing accounting for 71 percent of those shipments.
If our country is to retain a globally competitive industrial sector, it will be necessary to invest in the modernization of our industrial base. These investments will make U.S. industry cleaner and more energy efficient and increase its global competitiveness by supporting job growth and job retention.
How to Achieve Greater Industrial Energy Efficiency
- Invest in research, development and demonstration of new technologies, products and processes that improve energy efficiency
- Provide access to, and adoption of, industry-specific technical expertise, standards, assessments, and training for workers
- Create a trained and capable workforce that is both aware of energy efficient manufacturing and empowered to implement energy efficiency measures
- Obtain access to the capital required to implement process investments needed to realize energy productivity opportunities
Addressing these needs will allow the industrial sector to grow faster thereby creating economic benefits for the United States and insuring that high-value industrial jobs are retained and expanded.
For more on industrial energy efficiency, download a one pager: United States Industrial Sector.
BEE Campaign Promotes Industrial Energy Efficiency for Capitol Hill Audience
A Holistic Approach to Saving
On July 11, 2011, the Build Energy Efficiency (BEE) Campaign hosted “Improving Industrial Competitiveness: Why Energy Efficiency Matters,” a congressional briefing discussing industrial energy use and the role of energy efficiency in furthering U.S. competitiveness.
An experienced panel of industrial practitioners shared their perspectives on advancing energy efficiency in American manufacturing. Speakers included Carl Castellow, director of industrial energy efficiency at Schneider Electric, Larry Boyd, director of industrial programs with Energy Industries of Ohio and Dr. Narasimha Rao, division vice president of research and offering development with Nalco Company.
The Importance of the American Industrial Sector
The Alliance to Save Energy’s Floyd DesChamps began the event with a brief overview of the BEE campaign, which raises awareness about energy efficiency among new members of Congress. Bruce Lung, of the Alliance, framed the discussion, noting that the industrial sector employs over 11 million Americans in approximately 200,000 plants throughout the country. American manufacturers also have a profound effect on the productivity of the U.S. economy and represent 12% of gross domestic product and 52% of exports.
Lung also emphasized the substantial amount of energy required to power U.S. industry – it accounts for approximately 30% of total U.S. energy consumption. Enhancing the energy efficiency of U.S. industry would result in increased profitability and competitiveness , a positive impact that would ripple through the broader U.S. economy.
While barriers still exist, new tools such as the recently released ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard have strong potential to help the U.S. industrial sector improve energy efficiency, according to Lung.
Panelists Provide Industry Perspectives on Energy Efficiency Opportunities
Castellow kicked off the panel presentations by discussing a few of the fundamental barriers to energy efficiency within U.S. industry that he has seen in his work at Schneider Electric. He pointed out that energy use is often not the first priority of manufacturers and suggested that energy efficiency projects should yield other parallel benefits – increased productivity, product quality or reduced operations and maintenance expenditures– to be considered attractive. Additionally, because of the competitiveness of industrial firms, energy efficiency projects must meet aggressive return on investment criteria, termed “hurdle rates,” while also maintaining or improving existing production processes, said Catellow.
Boyd reinforced these points with observations from his work at the Ohio Center for Industrial Energy Efficiency. He said effective energy efficiency initiatives need to be supported with buy-in from management and sustained with broader energy management practices in plants. With these elements in place, energy efficiency financing programs can effectively moveinternal corporate hurdle rates spurring investment in energy efficiency improvements, according to Boyd.
Dr. Rao concluded the presentations with remarks about the intersection of energy and water consumption in U.S. industrial processes. He highlighted the water-energy nexus, a burgeoning topic in U.S. policy, and discussed opportunities to optimize water usage – and associated energy consumption – in industrial applications using new techniques and technologies. Dr. Rao also showed how significant water and energy savings can be achieved without significant capital investments through sited case study data.