Better Plants program aims at cutting manufacturing energy consumption

GM latest to join DOE effort to reduce energy intensity by 25%


More than 120 American manufacturers are participating in the Department of Energy’s Better Plants program, with a goal of reducing energy intensity in each of the facilities.

The latest to join the effort is General Motors, which announced June 27 its participation in the program at 25 U.S. facilities. The company said its goal is at least a 25% reduction in energy use at the plants by 2018.

“We continue to prove the business case for better energy management,” said Al Hildreth, General Motors corporate energy manager, in a press release. “Spreading the word about these benefits and sharing best practices with like-minded organizations will go far in reducing our nation’s energy consumption, and working with the DOE and EPA ENERGY STAR enhances this effort.”

“Together with the other partners in the Better Buildings, Better Plants program, GM’s actions will save billions in energy costs, create new manufacturing jobs, strengthen the nation's economic competitiveness and help protect the environment,” said Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency, U.S. Department of Energy.

One example cited by GM is a joint effort with the company and the United Auto Workers union at the company’s Fairfax (Kan.) Assembly facility. The company said workers identified more than $200,000 in potential cost savings after attending a DOE-sponsored compressed air training event.

“The UAW is proud to play a part in helping General Motors reduce its impact on the environment,” said UAW Vice President Joe Ashton, who directs the union’s GM department. “By giving our members the proper energy management training, we can ensure that the facilities where they work will be up-to-speed on industry best practices for cutting carbon emissions.”

Beyond the 120 companies that have signed up for the Better Plants program, 12 manufacturers, including some of the most energy-intensive companies in the country, are part of the Better Buildings, Better Plant Challenge. That is a more intensive, innovation-driven effort to reduce energy consumption.

The 12 manufacturers participating in the Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office are:

3M (94 plants)

Alcoa (29 plants)

Briggs and Stratton (12 facilities)

Cummins Inc. (73 facilities

Ford Motor Company (25 plants, covering 61 million square feet)

GE (105 million square feet)

Johnson Controls (71 facilities)

Legrand (14 facilities)

Nissan North America Inc. (3 plants)

Saint-Gobain Corporation (118 plants)

Schneider Electric (34 plants)

The J.R. Simplot Company (15 plants)

As part of the agreement, Challenge Partners must:

  • Assess their building portfolio to determine energy efficiency opportunities and publicly pledge an organization-wide energy savings goal for the next two to five years.
  • Announce and initiate a showcase project on one of their facilities (e.g., retrofit, retro commissioning) and develop an organization-wide plan to achieve your energy savings goal.
  • Share experiences with energy efficiency solutions, organization-wide energy savings, and the energy performance at individual facilities as the basis for recognition.

The Department of Energy will provide technical assistance, access to financial, service and technology companies and groups, and will publically recognize successful participants.

The DOE is looking for more participants. For more information, contact the DOE via this link.

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