What does Energy Maturity look like? A glimpse into the world of Energy Conservation in Manufacturing

Posted by Entegreat

Dec 11, 2013 9:44:00 AM

Old Engine - lower maturityTo put some real world feel to the levels of energy maturity, let’s take a look at three scenarios that will illustrate two vastly different maturity levels when addressing energy usage and conservation in manufacturing.  These are extremes; most companies lie somewhere in between. 


Consider which version of maturity your company more closely resembles in each of the following scenarios:

Scenario 1

Ted, a press operator, recalled the following situation:

“I had just received a memo from our Director of Sustainability that said our customers are demanding that we “Go Green”.

Lower Maturity Response

“I didn’t know we even had a Director of Sustainability and I have no idea what it means for us to “Go Green”.  I thought to myself, ‘What does this mean to me and how could they expect me to do anything about it?’”

Higher Maturity Response

“We had recently received energy conservation training and learned that this newly created position was part of the larger corporate initiative to enhance the company’s product positioning in the market.  I already knew that reducing energy consumption will reduce product costs and help us improve margins.  What I hadn’t realized before the training is that it can even help us be more competitive, increase consumer acceptance and maintain a high level of demand for our products.  That’s good news for my job in the future.  I developed a couple of ideas about how I could, personally, help the company “Go Green” by reducing wasted energy.”

“I added to our checklist to shut off the press during breaks and after shifts to reduce energy waste.  We used to clean the press area with the compressed air hose.  I put a stop to that. Before startup every day, I check to make sure we don’t have any leaks or other maintenance issues.  Something as simple as a leaky hose can cost us a lot in wasted energy.  I now make sure preventative maintenance is done regularly on my press.”

Scenario 2

Leah, an Engineering project manager, described her energy improvement experience:

“Three months ago we replaced our old air compressor with a new, energy efficient air compressor.  The sales rep said we should expect to see our electricity bill drop by at least 4% or 5%.

Lower Maturity Response

“We barely noticed any difference at all, and last month our bill was actually higher than before!  I don’t know how this could be.  This new compressor is so much better than our old one; it should have saved us a lot.  Now I’m worried I might get reprimanded for a capital expenditure that didn’t give us the return I expected.”

Higher Maturity Response

“I wanted to verify the advertised savings so I used our Energy and Water Management System (EnMS) to model the relationship between production volume and compressed air energy consumption.  Our energy bill had gone up, but the system showed me that since production increased over the last three months and an additional press was added in operations, demand for compressed air had also increased.  I was able to verify energy savings and confirm our target consumption reductions on a per unit basis by using the analytical tools provided by the EnMS.  We actually got higher than anticipated savings with that new compressor, and I was able to prove it by analyzing the compressor performance data on the EnMS.”


Scenario 3

Frank, the Sustainability Director, related the following story:

“We received a 100 page questionnaire from our largest customer asking about all aspects of our Sustainability strategy, policies and procedures.

Lower Maturity Response

“We’ve never seen anything like this before and didn’t know how to answer it.  We assembled a taskforce of our best people, but none of us have any experience with sustainability or energy conservation.”

Higher Maturity Response

“As part of our sustainability program, we have established comprehensive energy management policies including an Energy Supply Process and an Energy Demand Process.  We have a real-time energy management system that not only monitors our energy consumption, but with its predictive analytics, helps us to address issues before they become problems and continuously improve by monitoring trends in usage.”

 Highspeed train - Higher MaturityMost companies find themselves somewhere between the polar opposite scenarios.  As the higher maturity response in each of these scenarios demonstrates, business performance outcomes can be substantially improved with a mature energy management program that permeates all job classifications.  Implementing improvement isn’t an overnight event.  Energy conservation and implementation of the leadership, technology and policies to realize improvement must be seen as a journey.



Begin Your Free Energy Maturity Self Assessment


photo credit: david spigolon photopin

photo credit: kaffeeeinstein    photopin

Topics: Energy, Energy Management

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Entegreat can help you transform your manufacturing data into something that makes a difference.  We believe in Practical Sustainability: you can optimize today’s production performance without sacrificing tomorrow's resources.  Follow us on our blog and see what else we believe in, and be sure to share your feedback with us.

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