New EPA energy standards will increase plant efficiency

New EPA energy standards will increase plant efficiency
Published: 15 August 2006

The first-ever energy-efficiency ratings for cement plants will enable those industries to cut energy usage, save money and prevent greenhouse gases, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced on August 14.

The plant Energy Performance Indicators (EPIs) made available by EPA as part of a national energy performance rating system are the first of their kind for these manufacturing facilities. They provide critical information for driving energy savings by enabling the comparison of energy efficiency for a specific facility in the United States to that of the entire industry.

US cement manufacturers (and corn refiners) spend more than US$2 billion annually for 626 trillion BTU’s of energy. If energy use for
both of these industries was reduced by three per cent, the energy saved could produce electricity for 187,000 households - preventing the emissions of more than three billion pounds of greenhouse gases.

Based on the input of simple plant-level information, the energy efficiency of cement plants and corn refineries is scored from 1 to 100 and compared to the average and "efficient" plants in the industry. In order to receive an efficient rating, a plant must achieve a score of 75 or better. Now, corporate energy directors can establish meaningful goals for reducing energy use in these plants and better manage their companies’ energy costs.

The EPIs were developed as part of an Energy Star Industrial Focus with the cement and corn refining industries. EPA worked with the cement and corn refining industries to develop Energy Star plant energy performance indicators. The performance indicators measure an entire plant’s energy use, a critical step in strategic energy management. The indicators enable companies to determine how efficiently each plant is using energy as compared to the industry as a whole, and whether better energy performance could be expected.

Energy Star is a voluntary, market- based partnership designed to offer business and consumers effective energy efficiency solutions for saving energy, money and the environment. In 2005, Americans with the help of Energy Star saved about $12 billion on their energy bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 23 million cars.