An energy performance certification program to help industrial companies save energy while remaining globally competitive is being tested for real-world results.

The pilot project was set up to verify that the processes, standards and performance criteria of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Superior Energy Performance program are practical and achievable, benefit the participating plants, and reliably identify plants that meet the proposed certification criteria. The overriding goal of the program is to create a standardized approach to identifying, developing, measuring and reporting energy-efficiency improvements so that U.S. manufacturing plants can lower their energy use by 25 percent over the next decade.

Three of the participating plants – all in Texas – and their results to date are:
  • Union Carbide Corp., a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co., has a manufacturing operation in Texas City, which consists of 10 production plants producing approximately 2.5 billion pounds of alcohols, carboxylic acids, esters, aldehydes, vinyl acetate and vinyl resins each year. Production demands approximately 7.25 million MMBTU per year of steam, fuel and electricity. In testing the proposed steam system assessment standard, the company identified opportunities to recover heat from condensate and potentially purchase steam at a higher temperature, in addition to validating the current energy efficiency project list. In all, more than $6 million in energy cost-saving opportunities have been identified.

  • Frito-Lay’s San Antonio plant produces more than 50 million pounds of snack food annually, and employs approximately 250 workers. During the field test, Frito-Lay implemented the requirements of ANSI/MSE 2000-2008 into its existing management program, and plans to share best practices identified in the test project with other Frito-Lay plants. Plant managers volunteered the site for compressed air and process heating system assessments, which identified energy-saving opportunities of 51 percent and 5 percent respectively. Energy intensity improvements will be measured and verified in early 2010.

  • Owens Corning’s Waxahachie facility has three manufacturing lines to produce building and loose-fill insulation, which cost the company approximately $20 million in annual energy use. Managers at the plant developed a list of energy efficiency opportunities to meet corporate goals of reducing energy use 25 percent over 10 years. The site participated in testing the compressed air and process heating system assessment standards, trained staff engineers in the process and confirmed the opportunities previously identified.
Testing the criteria with plants of various sizes and energy management experience ensures that the program offers value and flexibility to a variety of companies. The test plants represent a variety of industries - food processing, insulation, semiconductor and chemical - and characterize small, medium and large industrial plants ranging in size from 50 to 2,700 employees. The pilot program will continue until spring 2010.

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