Why Isn't Energy Efficiency on Top of the Industrial To Do List?

10.02.13

Why wouldn’t an industrial company want to improve their bottom line through strategic energy improvements which, depending on their energy spend, could save hundreds of thousands of dollars?

In his recent article in greentechmedia on Why Efficiency Is So Much Harder in Industrial Facilities Than in Commercial Buildings, Stephen Lacey writes, “reaping savings in the industrial sector is more like a scavenger hunt, or like sitting in one of those money machine booths grasping at dollar bills as they wildly whip around.”

That disorienting scenario is borne out in Lacey’s article and interview with Cascade CEO, Marcus Wilcox. Lacey and Wilcox articulate some of the key factors that make industrial energy efficiency a challenging proposition, including the complexity of industrial systems and the reality that safety and productivity typically trump efficiency when it comes to the corporate To Do list.

Add to that the industrial sector’s tendency to be risk averse. Facilities often operate on slim margins with systems and processes running at maximum capacity, pushed beyond rated life. Out of necessity, financial and operational risks are watched closely. If a project or change is perceived to have excessive risk—in some cases regardless of economic benefit—it won’t get off the ground.

Successfully implementing corporate energy initiatives, projects, or programs requires engagement at all levels of staff, from the C-suite to the engineers and operators on the facility floor. In many industrial settings employees can be stretched thin. Energy management responsibilities may be added on top of regular workloads forcing staff to make decisions about what gets done and what doesn’t. When higher-level priorities compete, energy may not win out.

Lacey drives home the point that, for successful energy management to happen you first need to understand the fundamental nature of the industrial sector and the complex weave of circumstances that impacts efforts to drive efficiency. Read Lacey’s full article to get a clear picture of Why Efficiency Is So Much Harder in Industrial Facilities Than in Commercial Buildings.

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