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Energy Efficiency Lowers Costs at Large Corporations

U.S. Department of Energy report (PDF)

Why Energy Efficiency?

Energy is often one of the largest variable costs that companies can actively reduce.

Today, many, but certainly not all, large manufacturing companies in the United States have adopted some sort of internal energy efficiency (EE) program.

The main reason is for cost reduction, although reputation concerns are gaining in prominence as the public pays a greater degree of attention to issues such as climate change. In the most energy-intensive companies, where energy costs are more than 10% of total costs, the cost-cutting rationale for pursuing energy efficiency is most important.

However, the case for pursuing energy cost reduction is often still compelling when energy is a smaller percentage of total costs, as it may be easier to reduce than labor or raw material costs. The net financial benefits of such operating-cost-saving projects directly impact the bottom-line profitability of companies.

This contrasts with revenue-generating initiatives, such as growth projects, which contribute only to the gross revenue top line.


About This Report

This report examines primary factors that produce successful EE programs at large industrial companies. It also examines the role that ratepayer-funded EE programs can play in supporting energy efficiency at such companies. The report examines four large industrial companies with robust EE programs who have interacted with many different ratepayer-funded EE programs across a variety of states.

Energy Efficiency programs at large industrial corporations. Image courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy

Full case studies, including factory visits, were completed with;
(1) J.R. Simplot Company, a large, privately held agri-business and food processing company;
(2) General Motors, the second-largest automobile manufacturer in the world; and
(3) General Mills, one of the largest grain, cereal, and other food processors in North America.
(4) A case study was also completed with Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, through telephone interviews.

The report concludes by (1) defining three requirements for successful EE programs in large companies; (2) providing suggestions for other companies based on the experience of the case study companies; (3) examining how the case study companies view ratepayer-funded EE programs; and (4) providing considerations for ratepayer-funded program administrators on how participation in their offerings for large companies might be increased.

To read or download the full report please click the image below, or click here.

Saving Energy in Industrial Companies: Case Studies of Energy Efficiency Programs in Large U.S. Industrial Corpora tions and the Role of Ratepayer -Funded Support Industrial Energy Efficiency and Combined Heat and Power Working Group March 2017


Saving Energy in Industrial Companies: Case Studies of Energy Efficiency Programs in Large U.S. Industrial Corporations and the Role of Ratepayer-Funded Support was developed as a product of the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network (SEE Action), facilitated by the U.S. Department of Energy/U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Content does not imply an endorsement by the individuals or organizations that are part of SEE Action working groups, or reflect the views, policies, or otherwise of the federal government.

This document was final as of March 8, 2017.

If this document is referenced, it should be cited as: State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network. (2015). Saving Energy in Industrial Companies: Case Studies of Energy Efficiency Programs in Large U.S. Industrial Corporations and the Role of Ratepayer-Funded Support.

Prepared by: Robert P. Taylor, President, Energy Pathways LLC; Colin Taylor, Partner, CGT Research & Consulting; Bruce Hedman, Entropy Research, LLC.


Related Information:

  • Energy Efficiency Policy and Program Resources
    The State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network (SEE Action) provides resources for the design and implementation of policies and programs that can drive investment in energy efficiency, create jobs, and reduce consumer costs. These policies and programs can also strengthen the economic competitiveness of state and local entities by lowering the cost of living and doing business. Learn more about SEE Action activities related to the following policies and programs.

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