The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Plants Program is working with leading manufacturers boost their competitiveness through improvements in energy efficiency. Manufacturing is a nexus of innovation and economic opportunity in America, accounting for 12.3 million jobs or nine percent of the workforce*.
Driving energy savings in the sector can therefore have a broad impact, leading to cost savings and improved global competitiveness. Better Plants works with leading manufacturers and water utilities to do just that, overcoming common barriers such as lack of senior management buy-in, limited capital budgets, and insufficient information on identifying and implementing energy efficiency opportunities. Through Better Plants, partners set a specific goal, typically to reduce energy intensity by 25% over a 10-year period across all their U.S. operations and receive support in the form of technical assistance and national recognition.
The documents below can serve as valuable resources for Better Plants partners and facility operators interested in improving energy efficiency. The list includes overviews of various initiatives within the program, annual progress updates, and relevant white papers highlighting best practices and lessons learned from Better Plants.
* National Association of Manufacturers, Top 20 Facts About Manufacturing, http://www.nam.org/Newsroom/Top-20-Facts-About-Manufacturing.
This two-pager provides an overview of the Better Plants Program. Over 180 leading manufacturers and public water and wastewater treatment utilities are partnering with DOE through Better Plants to improve energy efficiency, slash carbon emissions, and cut energy costs.
Over 30 leading industrial organizations have stepped up to the Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge, the industrial component of the Better Buildings Challenge – a national, multi-sector energy efficiency leadership initiative.
Better Plants Program and Challenge is proud to announce two new recognition opportunities for partners: the Better Project and Better Practice awards. These awards honor partners’ innovative, industry-leading energy efficiency work.
In 2013, Better Plants Partners reported $1 billion in cumulative energy savings. As of 2013, Better Plants also conducted 27 In-Plant Trainings (INPLTs) to help partners realize new energy saving opportunities, identifying $6.7 million in energy cost savings for host facilities.
In 2014, Better Plants launched two new separate pilot initiatives focused on promoting energy management throughout the supply chain and improving water efficiency. Partners also reported estimated cumulative savings of almost $1.7 billion in energy costs.
In 2015, Better Plants reached new heights with over 150 partners accounting for 457 trillion British thermal units (TBtu) and 26.6 million metric tons of avoided carbon emissions. The Better Plants Challenge also saw exemplary growth with the addition of 10 new partner organizations, include water and wastewater treatment facilities.
In 2016, Better Plants partners made significant strides in energy efficiency, reporting estimated cumulative energy savings of 600 trillion British thermal units (TBtu) and $3.1 billion in energy costs. The program also launched new In-Plant Training topics, with several additional announced topics under development.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Buildings, Better Plants Program and Challenge helps secure American innovation and manufacturing competitiveness. Across the country, Better Plants partners are reducing energy costs to strengthen their productivity, create jobs, and increase their resiliency. Partners now represent roughly 12 percent of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint and have reported estimated cumulative energy cost savings of $4.2 billion over the last seven years.
Join Better Plants
Any organization in the U.S. manufacturing sector can join Better Plants, regardless of size or level of energy-management expertise. Partners set ambitious energy efficiency goals and champion continuous improvement in energy management throughout their operations. To join, sign a 2-page partnership agreement form. The form should be signed by the CEO or a senior executive and submitted to BetterPlants@ee.doe.gov.
In addition to setting energy efficiency goals, Better Plants Challenge Partners provide added transparency around their market-leading strategies, actions, and results—to help other organizations replicate their success. Challenge partners’ exceptional efforts are also eligible for enhanced recognition from DOE. Contact BetterPlants@ee.doe.gov about joining and for further information.
Better Plants partners track and record the energy consumed by each of their facilities annually, calculate the total energy savings compared to their baseline year, and report back the data to the program.
The Energy Intensity Baselining and Tracking Guidance document describes the steps necessary to develop an energy consumption and energy intensity baseline for industrial facilities, as well as to calculate consumption and intensity changes over time.
One of the features of Better Plants is the In-Plant Training (INPLT) workshops offered to partners. The workshops help train participants on how to identify, implement, and replicate energy-savings projects.
The U.S. DOE Better Plants Program has developed the Field Validation and Diagnostic Equipment Program to help plant operation personnel access the instruments needed to evaluate equipment performance and quantifying energy performance improvement at both the equipment and system level.
Supply Chain Initiative
Through Better Plants, DOE is providing guidance and technical assistance to partners to help them improve energy efficiency throughout their supply chains. DOE works with partners in the supply chain initiative to encourage their suppliers to leverage Better Plants resources, and collectively set, track, and meet energy savings goals.
This paper from the 2015 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry highlights the supply chain-energy efficiency efforts of two Better Plants partners and the DOE's role in working with these companies and their suppliers.
Water Savings Initative
The Better Buildings Challenge has expanded its energy savings program to include water savings and address the growing need to conserve this natural resource. More than thirty partners across the commercial, public, industrial, and multifamily sectors are working with DOE to track water use intensity improvements as well as share successful strategies and solutions.
This paper summarizes insights from Better Plants partners with well-developed water management programs and serves as a resource to others developing new, or seeking to improve existing, water management programs
Supporting Resources/Access to Complementary Programs
Since 1976, the Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs) have provided no-cost energy assessments for small and medium-sized manufacturers. Since the program's inception, more than 17,000 manufacturers have benefited from the work of the IACs.
DOE provides combined heat and power (CHP) deployment resources and direct project-specific technical assistance to transform the U.S. market for CHP, waste heat to power, microgrids, and district energy throughout the United States. Better Plants partners are eligible for free CHP screenings.
This 2016 Industrial Energy Technology Conference (IETC) paper outlines the lessons learned by the DOE Superior Energy Performance program on the implementation of the ISO 50001 - energy management system standard for water and wastewater treatment agencies.