Energy Treasure Hunts

A popular phrase used widely throughout the industry is "the cheapest energy is the energy you don't use". While this may intuitively make sense, how exactly does one discover and reduce sources of wasted energy throughout an industrial facility?  One of the best tools at an energy manager's disposal is what's known as an Energy Treasure Hunt; an onsite three-day event that engages cross-functional teams of employees in the process of identifying operational and maintenance (O&M) energy efficiency improvements. Often carried out several times over the course of a year, treasure hunts involve multiple teams simultaneously walking through areas of a facility during production while searching for opportunities to reduce energy use. This process empowers plant personnel to discover energy-saving opportunities while simultaneously building a culture of continuous improvement.

What does an energy treasure hunt look like? 

Phase One

Phase Two

Phase Three

Start: 6 weeks out from treasure hunt Start: The first day of planned treasure hunt Start: After the conclusion of the treasure hunt
Schedule discussions with your organization’s or facility’s leadership to obtain their support. Gather data on current energy usage and costs, equipment specifications, and operating parameters.  Identify and quantify energy-saving opportunities at an onsite three-day event. Summarize and present the results for management review. Develop a schedule to pursue the energy reduction opportunities identified during the Energy Treasure Hunt to keep the momentum and follow-through with improvements. 

Why should you host a treasure hunt?

What are some examples of treasure hunts? 

  • Reduces energy, operating, and maintenance costs
  • Helps build a culture of continuous improvement
  • Identifies inefficiency and unnecessary equipment within a facility

As industrial companies continue to adjust to new safety, energy, and production standards, the Better Plants program is continuing to explore new ways to help partners manage and reduce energy consumption. One such area is the exploration of Virtual Energy Treasure Hunts. To learn more about the ways we are supporting virtual treasure hunts, please reach out to your TAM. 

 

Ready to start your own treasure hunt? 

The Department of Energy has developed the necessary tools and materials, collectively known as the Energy Treasure Hunt Toolkit, to help with each individual phase of the treasure hunt process. This toolkit provides the treasure hunt facilitator with the tools needed to effectively plan and prepare for the event, successfully run it, and track the results. Explore the resources listed below to prepare for your Treasure Hunt and execute the three phases. 

Start by reading the Treasure Hunt Overview and watching the webinar to the right. 

This overview of the Energy Treasure Hunt Toolkit provides information on the different stages of the treasure hunt, as well as the materials in the toolkit. 

                READ OVERVIEW

        

 

Ready to take your treasure hunt to the next level? 

The Better Plants Program has developed two ways to take your treasure hunt to the next level; the Treasure Hunt In-Plant Training (INPLT) and the Energy Treasure Hunt Exchange. The Treasure Hunt INPLT gives Better Plants partners the chance to host a treasure hunt at one of their facilities, guided by one of our seasoned technical experts, Walt Brockway. 

The Treasure Hunt Exchange is a collaborative event where energy managers from different partner companies join together to explore a facility and combine their expertise in search of potential facility improvements and the exchanging of ideas and best practices. An event that is uniquely facilitated by the DOE's Better Plants Program, the Exchange gives partners the opportunity to join forces and gain fresh perspectives from other experienced energy managers on energy-saving tactics during real-time plant operations. To host an Energy Treasure Hunt INPLT or coordinate an Energy Treasure Hunt Exchange, click the links below: