Industrial Energy Stars
Owners and managers of manufacturing facilities used to be heavily focused on managing the costs of process and production. They always were thinking about lean manufacturing and 'six sigma.' And while energy efficiency—and cost—is a concern, they tended to defer to others on the issue. But with programs like the EPA's ENERGY STAR geared toward the plant, the best and the brightest ...
Owners and managers of manufacturing facilities used to be heavily focused on managing the costs of process and production. They always were thinking about lean manufacturing and ‘six sigma.’ And while energy efficiency—and cost—is a concern, they tended to defer to others on the issue. But with programs like the EPA’s ENERGY STAR geared toward the plant, the best and the brightest of the industrial world are putting their collective minds together to think about energy efficiency.
The increased focus on energy efficiency was certainly evident in one of the roundtable discussions at Plant Engineering magazine’s two-day Manufacturing Summit, which took place in Chicago in early April. Much of the following discussion is taken from that roundtable.
The lead-off panelist in the roundtable was Fred C. Schoeneborn, CEM, president, FCS Consulting Services, Inc. Schoeneborn’s firm provides facility and energy management solutions to global clients. In his 38-year career, he’s managed the construction of Mobil’s office facilities worldwide, including the Mobil headquarters facility in Fairfax, Va. He also supports the EPA ENERGY STAR program, assisting partners in improving their energy efficiency performances, and he performs workshops on “Train the Trainer For Energy Assessments” for the Oak Ridge National Lab.
“Today, energy is the issue that I’m delighted to be a champion of and helping with,” Schoeneborn says.
Schoeneborn supports the the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR program. The key word is “voluntary,” he explains. He believes this is one program that works. “It’s literally something that is identified by a lot of households today. I’m sure you’ve seen the tag on refrigerators and so forth where appliances meet an actual design criteria for energy efficiency—and now you’ll see how we have taken it into plants.”
Of course, one must distinguish the various ENERGY STAR programs. When he talks about public awareness, Shoeneborn is mainly referring to the program for devices. The ENERGY STAR for facilities needs greater awareness among building owners.
For a long time, people have been teaching us that energy is something that is just a given, Schoeneborn says. You can’t manage it. However, he argues, energy is definitely a manageable item. It is not something that managers should just let happen. It is manageable, and it should be managed with the same expertise that is used for the rest of the industry or for the rest of the company. “It shouldn’t just be something that the walking wounded handle. The brightest people in the company should be involved in energy efficiency,” he says.
The energy person
In fact, Schoeneborn claims, the planning of energy efficiency is so important that plant managers and their consultants need to have a plan within a company that allows for the various steps to more efficient use of energy. His theory is that the energy person or the person that owns energy consumption at a plant must be part of the organization.
“I’ve seen more programs fail where some zealot all of a sudden becomes a tree-hugger and loves energy efficiency for whatever reason; and, lo and behold, six months from now, it’s gone because somehow, the overall energy management program has not become part of the culture of the company or the culture of the plant, just some of my own understanding of what it is,” Schoeneborn says.
As far as technology, he explains, one hears quite a bit about it, but if the engineers can’t get the ear of management at the plant, it doesn’t happen. “One of the greatest examples that I have been involved with is Toyota. Toyota has an 8:40 a.m. meeting once a week where the EMO of the plant makes a presentation to management exactly what has happened… the week before. So there is a real understanding to top management. ‘Here’s what happened to energy last week.’ So this is not after the fact, like an annual report given on energy. These are actionable items,” Schoeneborn says. He further explains that he had the pleasure of being involved with Toyota’s Georgetown operations.
Schoeneborn says that they have put together a simple matrix that is available online on the ENERGY STAR website (go to energystar.gov and click on “Buildings & Plants.” It lists the various components that make up a corporate program. He realizes that not everyone is necessarily interested in a corporate program, but these are systems that should be in place in order to have a functional corporate energy program. When one goes online, he or she can look at it.
“And what is the energy director, for example, and these are three conditions. This, obviously, here is the desired state if you have it in place. Just looking at director—I’m sure you may not be able to read it. It says “no central or organized source or decentralized engineering is in place. That’s for indirect energy. You just keep scrolling down, and at the end, and it is empowered control and organizational with senior management support. So that would be the desired state.”
The energy manager can go online at the energystar.gov site and download the Energy Program Assessment matix with tools and resources to help every step of the way.
“It allows you to highlight where you truly are in your program,” Schoeneborn says. “It’s a very graphic way to get something to management. I found this is a great tool to give to managers and to say—or to your plant manager.”
Just regarding plants and plant performance, Schoeneborn says, his firm is much involved with giving people tools so they can manage their program at the plant.
“How do you know that your plant is really working? I remember one thing, when I started managing a program at Mobil, I would go in the plant, and the person that had been given energy efficiency and say, ‘Fred, I don’t even know if I’m doing a good job or not because, for the most part, energy people have nothing to measure against. So now, we truly have a device that is measurable.’”
“This [assessment matrix] is something where you plug in your numbers. It gives you all kinds of opportunities for doing it, and it is really, really easy. At the end, you come out with a curve, where your program stands with the rest of the area. Now, this was put together by Argonne Lab. They put this together for the EPA, and this is in total confidentiality between Argonne Lab and anybody else that wants supply information.”
Schoeneborn once again refers to the example of the auto industry, which thought that the information that had gathered using the census data was just not good enough for the automobile manufacturing folks. So they decided to provide their own information that would be specify to their industry.
Finally, Schoeneborn points to the advertising power of an ENERGY STAR accreditation: “That’s not a bad advertisement for your neighbors or people that you’re working with in the community or what have you. Now, the people that are there, I can tell you because all five companies are companies that I personally worked with, you had Nissan up there, you had Toyota up there, you had Ford up there.”
In short, the advantages of an Energy Star label for an industrial plant cannot be underestimated. It goes beyond cutting production costs to creating community goodwill.
Plants Receive the ENERGY STAR
The ENERGY STAR is awarded by U.S. EPA to manufacturing plants which are in the top 25% of energy efficiency within their industry.
Recognition for energy performance achievements is a valuable method for sustaining momentum in a corporate energy program. EPA began recognizing auto plants with ENERGY STARs in 2007. The first plants are:
Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc. assembly plant in Lincoln, Ala.
Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc. assembly plant in East Liberty, Ohio
Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc. assembly plant Marysville Auto Plant in Marysville, Ohio
The Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in Chicago, Ill.
The Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in St. Paul, Minn.
The Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in Claycomo, Mo.
The Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in Norfolk, Va.
The Nissan North America, Inc. assembly plant in Canton, Miss.
The Nissan North America, Inc. assembly plant in Smyrna, Tenn.
The Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. assembly plant (NUMMI passenger) in Fremont, Calif.
The Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. assembly plant (NUMMI truck) in Fremont, Calif.
The Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. assembly plant (TMMI East) in Princeton, Ind.
The Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. assembly plant (TMMI West) in Princeton, Ind.
The Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. assembly plant (TMMK Plant 1) in Georgetown, Ky.
The Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. assembly plant (TMMK Plant 2) in Georgetown, Ky.
ENERGY STAR Motor Vehicle Focus
Beginning in 2001, the ENERGY STAR Motor Vehicle Manufacturing Focus has been helping auto manufacturers increase the energy efficiency in their plants by providing “sound, strategic corporate energy management practices and resources that facilitate continuous improvement.” Participation is available to all manufacturers with motor vehicle production facilities based in the United States.
At the website is a tool called the ENERGY STAR Automobile Assembly Plant Energy Performance Indicator (EPI). The EPI scores the energy efficiency of a single automobile assembly plant in the U.S., and compares it to that of the entire industry. Developed by EPA and supported by the analytical skill of Duke University in cooperation with the industry, the EPI uses basic inputs unique to a plant and provides a percentile ranking of the plant’s energy efficiency, comparing it to the industry’s average and “efficient” (defined as the 75th percentile) plants. This tool enables corporate and industry-wide benchmarking and facilitates periodic plant comparisons. For more information and to use the EPI, visit
Automotive manufacturing isn’t the only industry in the ENERGY STAR program. To create momentum for energy performance improvements within individual manufacturing sectors, EPA organizes ENERGY STAR Industrial Focuses. Focuses provide industry-specific energy management tools and resources, develop the corporate structure and systems to better manage energy, and reduce energy use within an industry.
Participation is voluntary; however, most companies welcome the opportunity to network with peers. Generally, focuses enjoy the participation of most of the major companies within an industry.
Focus industries include cement manufacturing, corn refining, food processing, glass, petrochemical processing, petroleum refining and much more at: