energy efficiency

A newly-released Pew Center report “From Shop Floor to Top Floor: Best Business Practices in Energy Efficiency,” documents that US companies are increasingly pursuing innovative energy efficiency strategies to boost productivity and cost savings, while reducing their carbon footprint.

by Debbie Van Der Hyde, Green Economy Post

From the manufacturing shop to the management suite, companies focused on energy efficiency initiatives report billions of dollars in savings and millions of tons of avoided greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report.

Published by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, the report “From Shop Floor to Top Floor: Best Business Practices in Energy Efficiency” documents that US companies are increasingly pursuing innovative energy efficiency strategies to boost productivity and cost savings, while reducing their carbon footprint. The Pew Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change.

“Energy efficiency is smart business,” said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. “In addition to dollar savings, companies that get serious about energy efficiency often realize other important benefits including improved corporate reputation, productivity increases, better worker morale and employee retention.”

The report includes the findings of the Pew Center’s 65-question energy efficiency survey, which was distributed to nearly 100 companies to gather quantitative data and discover trends in corporate energy efficiency. A key finding is that climate change has reframed corporate energy strategies.

“Companies that take on carbon footprinting and reduction strategies quickly come to see their energy use in a whole new light,” says Claussen.

According to the report, when companies calculate their carbon footprint, they typically find that their energy consumption accounts for the great majority of their directly measurable emissions impact. “Viewed in this light, energy efficiency becomes a sustainability imperative,” Claussen adds.

The report also contains seven core elements of an exemplary corporate energy efficiency strategy and best practices in internal operations, supply chain, and products and services that have proven to be salient among the best energy efficiency strategies. Companies that have achieved the greatest success with their energy efficiency strategies share several key attributes, according to The Pew Center report. These attributes include:

  • A commitment to energy efficiency must start at the top. Strong leadership from senior managers, including the company CEO, is essential to getting an energy efficiency strategy started and sustaining it over time.
  • Results can be maximized by expanding efficiency efforts to suppliers and customers. Many companies have found that much of their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions occur outside of their own direct operations. As a result, companies are reaching out across their value chain to tap into even larger energy savings opportunities.
  • An emphasis on energy efficiency can lead to broader innovation and process improvements within a company. As companies in this study have found, the benefits of energy efficiency go beyond dollars saved and carbon emissions reduced; it can also lead to product quality and productivity improvements.

The report features six in-depth case studies of the energy efficiency efforts of Dow Chemical Company, United Technologies Corporation, IBM, Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc., PepsiCo and Best Buy.

According to the report, these companies have achieved dramatic energy savings by following a relatively simple set of principles. The Pew Center says it hopes other companies will learn from the best practices and implement or strengthen their own efficiency initiatives.

The report was developed over nearly two years of effort, including a detailed survey of the Pew Center’s Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC) members and other leading companies. Established by the Pew Center in 1998, the BELC is comprised of mainly Fortune 500 companies in energy, automobiles, manufacturing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metals, mining, paper and forest products, consumer goods and appliances, telecommunications, and high technology. Individually and collectively, these companies are demonstrating that it is possible to take action to address climate change while maintaining competitive excellence, growth, and profitability.

Additional inputs for the report include a series of workshops on key energy efficiency topics and broader research in the corporate energy field.

© 2010, Debbie Van Der Hyde. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Debbie Van Der Hyde (8 Articles)

Debbie Van Der Hyde is an experienced freelance writer with a strong interest in sustainability, clean energy and the green industry. For more than a decade, she has helped organizations effectively communicate their brand and promote their products and services through feature articles, brochures, video scripts, podcasts, web copy and more. Now Debbie is expanding her writing repertoire through blogging about the green economy—and what started as a pastime has become a passion. Prior to becoming a writer, Debbie worked in marketing and corporate communications for a global consulting company. When not wordsmithing, she usually can be found volunteering, attempting to perfect a yoga pose, or orchestrating dozens of family activities. More about Debbie is available at www.vdhc.com. She can also be reached at debbie@vdhc.com.