An an April 2010 survey of leading businesses entitled “From Shop Floor to Top Floor: Best Business Practices in Energy Efficiency,” the PEW Center on Global Climate Change describes a shift in how companies such as Dow, IBM and Toyota approach energy.
The authors’ conclusions? Setting ambitious long-term energy-saving goals saves money, avoids greenhouse-gas emissions and improves employee morale. Ultimately, survey participants have boosted their bottom lines by approaching energy as a core asset to be managed, rather than as an expensive afterthought. Traditionally, however, efficiency opportunities have been addressed through incremental improvements. While such savings are notable, managing efficiency on an organization-wide basis greatly expands the potential.
In this new paradigm where energy is viewed as an “asset,” more comprehensive changes are pursued. This paradigm shift can be viewed in the context of how your facility approaches energy-intensive equipment, such as motors. Imagine the effects on your bottom line from upgrading to premium-efficiency motors one by one, versus an approach based on a comprehensive motor-management plan.
For example, a proactive motor-management plan would involve maintaining an inventory of all motors and ensuring that energy was included in the analysis of when and how they are to be repaired or replaced. Incorporating the motor-management plan as a business strategy assures that all personnel contribute and adhere to it. What’s the impact to your bottom line? It’s likely to be a very large number: Multiply the savings you would achieve by upgrading one motor by the number of motors in your facility—the U.S. Department of Energy has estimated this could be $900/year for a 75 hp motor—and add to that the avoided productivity losses associated with being unprepared when critical motors fail.
Another important finding of the PEW study was that at leading companies, senior management supports managing energy as an asset. This approach permeates all levels of the companies’ organizational charts. As a result, the benefits extend beyond the bottom line to include improved productivity by stimulating technical and process innovations, such as reductions in water use, materials waste, labor costs and production downtime.
Where to start?
If the successes achieved by companies in the PEW Center survey seem to be beyond your company’s budget, resources or manpower, you may want to try something simple that
can still have plenty of impact: Start managing your energy asset by managing your motors.
If your facility is like most others, motor-driven systems consume a large portion of your energy use. The sponsors of the Motor Decisions MatterSM Campaign have developed a suite of resources to help you and your team be more effective in managing those systems and, in turn, your energy asset. Visit the MDM Website (www.motorsmatter.org) to access these resources and begin making energy an asset, not an afterthought. MT
The Motor Decisions Matter (MDM) campaign is managed by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), a North American nonprofit organization that promotes energy-saving products, equipment and technologies. For further information, contact MDM staff at email@example.com or (617) 589-3949.