Energy efficiency ready for the dustbin?

Have the industry efforts so recently begun toward achieving greater energy efficiencies already become passé? Is it already oh-so-five-minutes-ago? Listening to one industry analyst group in particular, one might think that to be the case. According to Frost & Sullivan, “Energy Efficiency was the buzzword of 2008.

05/01/2009


Have the industry efforts so recently begun toward achieving greater energy efficiencies already become passe? Is it already oh-so-five-minutes-ago? Listening to one industry analyst group in particular, one might think that to be the case.

According to Frost & Sullivan, “Energy Efficiency was the buzzword of 2008. With high energy prices and the 'green’ movement in full swing, it made economic and social sense to invest in energy saving technologies. Entering 2009, however, the world finds itself in a different economic situation. Energy prices have declined, and the financial crisis leaves companies with little or no capital to spend on investments. In light of these new economic conditions, it is questionable whether the trend toward energy efficiency will continue.”

I realize times are tough (few industries are being brutalized as badly as the publishing industry these days), but has the manufacturing industry reached the point that it’ll step over the dollars available through energy efficiency to pick up pennies while hunkering down and waiting for the economic storm to clear? Knowing that so many things can be done at little or no cost to save energy (see the January and February 2009 Sustainable Engineering features for specifics; also online at www.controleng.com/article/CA6626803.html ), it’s difficult to understand Frost & Sullivan’s reasoning beyond the fact that energy efficiency may no longer be buzzworthy.

Moving beyond that status would actually be a good thing, as energy efficiency is much more about practical money savings than about buzz.

If you’re still uncertain about the dollars that can be saved through a focus on energy efficiency, consider some of these stats provided by Rod Ellsworth, Infor’s vice president of EAM (enterprise asset management):

  • For every dollar spent on maintenance, manufacturers spend 5-6 times that on energy.

  • Energy is largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Energy represents 60% of operations and maintenance costs.

  • 40% of the global electricity used is consumed by industry.

  • A 100 hp motor that costs $10,000 to purchase can cost as much as $150,000 over 5 years running at 94% efficiency (and we all know that 94% efficiency is a rarely achieved goal).

Ellsworth shared this information last month at Plant Engineering ’s Manufacturing Summit in Charleston, S.C., (disclosure: Plant Engineering is a sister publication of Control Engineering ). This handful of statistics alone underscores the massive amount of money that can be saved by a focused energy efficiency plan in a plant of any size.

With engineers squarely at the center of the discussion, where do you stand on this issue? Has energy efficiency officially become a thing of the past already?

david.greenfield@reedbusiness.com





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Big plans for small nuclear reactors: Simpler, safer control designs; Smarter manufacturing; Industrial cloud; Mobile HMI; Controls convergence
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.