Reducing energy costs — DOE reveals best practices of Better Plants awardees Harley-Davidson, Johnson Controls, Eastman

by Brianna Crandall — October 2, 2017 — The Department of Energy (DOE) just announced that partners in its Better Buildings, Better Plants Program have saved about $4.2 billion in cumulative energy costs across nearly 3,000 facilities that represent about 12 percent of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint.

In addition, DOE is recognizing the achievements of nine partners who have met their energy or water savings goals this year, welcoming 12 new partners who have joined the program, and celebrating the successes of 11 partners with two new awards programs. The accomplishments and best practices of the awardees are highlighted below.

Today, close to 200 Better Plants partners are reducing energy costs to strengthen their productivity, create jobs, and increase their resiliency. As part of the broader Better Buildings Initiative, Better Plants partners voluntarily set a long-term goal, typically to reduce energy intensity by 25 percent over a 10-year period across all their U.S. operations. DOE supports these efforts with technical expertise and national recognition.

Kathleen Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, U.S. Department of Energy, stated:

U.S. manufacturing companies are saving billions of dollars through innovative, cost-effective approaches to energy efficiency. The Better Plants program aims to bring light to their successes and helps accelerate the adoption of energy efficiency technologies and practices across the U.S. These partnerships help drive a stronger, more secure U.S. industrial base.

New Better Practice and Better Project awards were introduced in 2017 to honor 11 partners’ exceptional energy-efficiency solutions. The Better Practice Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in implementing and promoting the practices, principles, and procedures of energy management in industry. The Better Project Award is presented to partners for outstanding accomplishments in implementing energy efficiency projects at individual facilities. Accomplishments / best practices are highlighted in the lists below.

2017 Better Practice Award Winners:

  • Charter Steel: For utilizing the energy treasure hunt exchange process to train employees, identify cost savings, and improve ISO 50001 implementation
  • Harley-Davidson: For developing a multi-disciplinary Sustainability Team that helped achieve a 30 percent decrease in facility energy consumption
  • Johnson Controls: For establishing a company-wide Energy Hunt program that resulted in a threefold increase in identified energy savings projects and helped the company meet its Better Plants Challenge goal two years early
  • Nissan: For implementing an enterprise-wide Energy Management System certified to ISO 50001 that includes all U.S. manufacturing facilities
  • Saint-Gobain: For creating WWE (Waste, Water, Energy) Awards to inspire competition among 120+ manufacturing sites to reduce their environmental impact
  • United Technologies: For creating a multifaceted energy efficiency improvement program that has saved millions in cumulative energy costs

2017 Better Project Award Winners:

  • C.F. Martin & Co.: For installing an industrial HVAC upgrade that led to a 40 percent reduction in system energy consumption, better product quality, and reduced maintenance needs
  • Eastman: For installing a combustion turbine burner that has improved steam production reliability and saved 156,000 MMBTU in annual energy consumption
  • Ingersoll Rand: For implementing lighting and HVAC upgrades across several facilities, with site energy consumption decreases of as much as 2 percent
  • The Narragansett Bay Commission: For installing three 1.5 MW wind turbines that offset $600,000 in annual electricity costs and yield hundreds of thousands more in renewable energy credit sales
  • Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority: For installing a 1.6 MW CHP system fueled by on-site-produced biogas that has achieved $473,000 in annual energy cost savings.

Here are a few highlights from the 2017 Better Plants update, which outlines the progress of Better Plants partners over the past year:

  • DOE welcomed Bristol-Myers Squibb and 11 other partners, bringing the total number of partners committing to improve energy performance to 190.
  • Four Better Plants partners have committed to more aggressive energy-savings goals through the Better Plants Challenge, bringing the total number of Challenge partners to 41.
  • One Better Plants Challenge partner, Celanese Corporation, a Fortune 500 chemicals and advanced materials manufacturer from Irving, Texas, met its second goal after meeting its first goal in 2014; the company is the 15th partner to set a new ambitious pledge after meeting their initial goal.
  • General Motors, a Challenge partner in the Fortune 10, exceeded its water goal four years early and reduced its water intensity by 28.3 percent against a 2010 baseline.
  • Honda North America joined the Better Plants Supply Chain Initiative, sponsoring a cohort of eight suppliers that are now taking advantage of program resources and support to improve their energy efficiency.
  • Partners like JR Simplot and the City of Grand Rapids Water Resource Recovery Facility have leveraged new Better Plants In-Plant Trainings topics in industrial refrigeration and water/wastewater treatment to develop their workforce and identify energy-savings opportunities.
  • The Field Validation and Diagnostic Equipment Program was created to facilitate data analysis and measurement among partners.

Read the full report to learn more about this year’s successes and how the Better Plants program plans to boost competitiveness through improvements in energy efficiency. It also offers new resources.

Through the Better Buildings Initiative, the Energy Department is partnering with public and private sector organizations to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings more energy efficient over the next decade while creating thousands of jobs. These partners have contributed to over 1,000 solutions viewable on the Better Buildings Solution Center / Better Plants Web page.