Energy savings for manufacturers eyed: regional pilot focuses on helping companies with lean, energy efforts.
A pilot program aimed at integrating government conservation guidelines into manufacturing training programs has been launched through a collaboration of the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership and similar programs in Maine and Massachusetts.
Working directly with manufacturers, the MEPs will evaluate the terms and measures of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's "Lean and Energy Toolkit".
The MEPs will integrate the EPA's suggestions while working with six manufacturing clients in the three New England states.
"At the regional level, New England consumes more energy than the rest of the country," said Zenagui Brahim, director of operations at the New Hampshire MEP. "No segment of the U.S. economy has as much to gain from energy-use reduction as manufacturing. The manufacturing sector consumes 70 percent of industrial energy usage."
The EPA published its toolkit in 2007 with the goal of helping organizations reduce energy use and improve performance through lean manufacturing.
In the manufacturing sector, the largest consumers of energy are the food, paper, petroleum and coal products, chemicals and primary metals subsectors, which together account for 83 percent of energy consumption in the manufacturing sector.
The primary energy sources for manufacturers are natural gas and electricity. Process heating accounts for 62.8 percent of direct energy end use at manufacturing facilities, while machine drives and motors account for another 27.3 percent.
"For years, the MEPs have been showing manufacturers how to streamline and improve operational efficiency with lean training said lack Healy, director of operations at the Massachusetts MEP. "It makes sense to include energy efficiencies as part of lean training. Those techniques will help save money and help save the planet."
After all of the companies in the pilot program have added an energy focus to their lean programs by working with the MEPs and the lean and Energy Toolkit, the Maine MEP will deliver a final report to assess its effectiveness and make recommendations to the EPA. The emphasis will be on replicating best practices with other lean manufacturers.