National Manufacturing Day: Celebrating Energy Efficiency with Energy Star in the Manufacturing Sector

Today, both manufacturing output and employment are growing, and companies are going even further by committing to improving their energy efficiency. Since the end of the recession, the manufacturing sector has created more than 700,000 jobs, and the industry supports more than 16 million U.S. jobs in manufacturing and its supply chains. The importance of this sector to our economy cannot be overstated. Manufacturing has the largest multiplier effect of any part of the economy, and for every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, the sector generates $1.32 for the U.S. economy.

That’s why I’m taking this opportunity today, on National Manufacturing Day, to recognize three industrial facilities recently awarded with our Energy Star Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Award for their highly efficient CHP systems, which decrease energy costs and reduce carbon pollution that leads to climate change. CHP, also known as cogeneration, simultaneously produces electricity and steam or hot water from a single heat source, using traditional or renewable fuels. It provides reliable and cost-effective electricity and heat for a variety of manufacturing processes, including the production of chemicals and pharmaceuticals, where energy costs can be a significant portion of operating costs.

The Energy Star CHP Award winners: Eastman Chemical Company, Kingsport, Tenn.; Janssen R&D LLC, Spring House, Pa.; Merck, West Point, Pa. are reducing carbon pollution equal to the generation of electricity used by more than 63,000 homes, and have reduced their combined energy costs by over $54 million annually. Those are significant numbers. And the CHP systems used by the award winners achieve operating efficiencies of between 62 and 78 percent, much higher than the efficiency of conventional production of electricity and thermal energy, which can be less than 50 percent.

Actions like these are helping us meet the goals of the President’s Climate Action Plan for a cleaner power sector by encouraging innovation while boosting the efficiency and competitiveness of the U.S. industrial sector. And this program is voluntary. Established in 2001, EPA’s voluntary CHP Partnership program seeks to reduce the environmental impact of power generation by promoting the cost-effective use of CHP. The partnership works closely with energy users, the CHP industry, state and local governments, and other clean energy stakeholders to facilitate the development of new CHP projects and to promote CHP’s environmental and economic benefits.

By recovering and using heat typically wasted by the conventional production of electricity, CHP gives U.S. manufacturers a competitive edge by minimizing production costs while reducing carbon pollution. And by generating electricity on-site, the systems also reduce demands on the nation’s electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure.

Today, manufacturers across the nation will participate in National Manufacturing Day by hosting open houses, public tours, career workshops and other events. My hope is that more manufacturers work with our CHP Partnership Program and commit to energy efficiency to not only save money and energy but to reduce their carbon emissions and combat climate change so we can leave our children a planet that is healthy. A strong economy and a healthy environment go hand-in-hand.

More on the EPA Combined Heat and Power Partnership: http://epa.gov/chp/

More on the EPA Energy Star Industrial Program: www.energystar.gov/industry

More on the awards: http://epa.gov/partnership/awards.html

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