Wasted energy is wasted dollars. Manufacturing companies are increasingly embracing this idea, and well they should. The industrial sector accounts for one-third of energy consumption across the United States, so it follows that it also accounts for significant improvement opportunities.
Cummins Inc. has leaped upon those opportunities. A significant energy retrofit by the Columbus, Ind.-based manufacturer is expected to drive significant energy and cost savings at the manufacturer’s engine plant located in Jamestown, N.Y.
How significant? The project is anticipated to reduce the plant’s energy intensity by one third, delivering energy savings of approximately 250 billion BTUs and $1.4 million in energy bills.
It’s been a multiyear undertaking and part of the largest infrastructure upgrade in more than 40 years at the Jamestown plant, according to Cummins. The phased, whole-building energy and infrastructure improvement project included $5.1 million specifically earmarked for energy-efficiency projects, including a thermal insulated roof with solar panels, upgraded heating and cooling, and a new energy control system.
Cummins said the 2-megawatt solar installation can generate about one-third of the plant’s power on the sunniest days. The building occupies more than 1 million square feet.
In November, the Department of Energy, through its Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge, recognized Cummins’ Jamestown plant for its leadership in reducing energy use and costs. "We are pleased to be showcasing the efforts at Jamestown," said Stan Woszczynski, Cummins vice president and chief manufacturing officer.
That said, Cummins efforts at the Jamestown facility are but a piece of the company’s larger energy efficiency efforts. Through its Better Plants Challenge partnership, the manufacturer has committed to reduce its energy intensity by 25% across 104 facilities by 2016. It already has exceeded that goal, in fact, with a cumulative energy intensity reduction of 34%.
Woszczynski attributed the company’s strong showing in reducing energy intensity to "strategic thinking, rigorous financial analysis and planning, and strong leadership."
The company also relies on its own Energy Champions to find and fix instances of wasted energy across the enterprise. The Cummins Energy Champion program marked its fifth anniversary in 2014, and has trained more than 240 champions and deputies since 2009.
On a broader scale, more than 140 companies representing 2,300 facilities and nearly 11% of the U.S. manufacturing footprint partner with the DOE through the Better Plants program. Twenty of those partners have joined since the fall of 2013.