As a business leader, what would you be willing to do in order to shave 10% off your company's annual energy bills? Would you ask a team of employees and operational experts to examine your facility from top to bottom? Would you allow them to devote a few days to studying energy-efficient enhancements?

You can empower employees to seek ways to conserve resources -- ideas that can be simple and nearly cost-free, or complex with long-term payback schedules. Called a Treasure Hunt at GE, it's a cost-effective way to analyze energy usage and identify opportunities for improvement, called energy kaizens. GE has found 650 million tons of carbon dioxide reduction opportunities company-wide by conducting over 300 internal Treasure Hunts across a wide variety of GE businesses, saving $150 million.

Based on a model originally developed by Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America and later adapted for our own purposes, the following checklist outlines GE's Treasure Hunt process.