Here's how Walt Brockway, global manager of energy efficiency for Alcoa tackled our 5 questions!
What do you think the energy landscape will look like in 2020?
2020 is not far away, from a supply side we will see more reliance on natural gas, less on coal, and we will begin to see a smarter grid. On the user side, we will see a greater focus in knowledge of energy from the consumer, not only industrial, residential and commercial. On the industrial side, I hope to see a much greater focus on energy where it becomes a discussion topic at a specific location, and is driven from the top down.
What is the landmark energy solution you would like to be known for?
I think a low-cost in-your-face, easy-to-use energy management system, in which consumers can very quickly and inexpensively see what energy they’re using, what it’s costing them and act upon it.
Has your work affected your energy practices at home?
Yes. I’ve slowly converted lighting in my home to LED lighting, and I’m considering building a new home. As long as economics allow, I would install a geothermal heating system, increased insulation and window film.
What’s the best, most fun part of your job?
Visitng plants, getting to know the people, understanding their energy footprint and helping them. We did a survey at a plant in Arizona last year and we took the opportunity to do an energy map for the plant. When we were done, people were able to say, “Wow I didn’t know that’s where the energy was going,” and they were able to find opportunities to target those high consuming areas. A few months ago we visited a plant to do an energy survey and found an issue with their compressed air system, and saved them $100,000 a year.
What’s been the biggest challenge in your work?
It was and continues to be to get top level sponsorship because top level changes at corporations, plants, etc. To continue to have their sponsorship to focus on energy is a challenge.