3M: Energy Manual 81 for Project Design Requirements and Guidelines


3M developed the Energy Manual 81 to provide employees with detailed energy considerations for design and procurement activities. The Manual builds off 3M’s corporate energy management program and its ISO 50001 implementation. It was developed by 3M to increase employee engagement at its sites and foster an energy-conscious culture. Expanding on 3M’s previous engineering manual for process system design and operations, Manual 81 has become a requirement for any engineering project that has a capital cost greater than $250,000. Since the launch of Manual 81, implemented projects have delivered 6,676,000 MMBtu of savings and 272,000 tons of CO2e savings with a payback period of 2 years.


Energy Manual 81 is a tool that supports progress towards 3M’s operational and sustainability goals. 3M has sustainability targets for climate and energy that specify improvement in energy efficiency by 30% indexed to net sales. In 2019, 3M committed to the RE100 initiative by the Climate Group to source 100% of electricity from renewable energy. Recently, 3M furthered their GHG emission goals to reduce Scope 1 and 2 market-based GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2030, 80% by 2040, and achieve carbon neutrality in operations by 2050. Development of Manual 81 is a key part of 3M’s strategy to achieve the energy efficiency goals that will enable the company to increase renewable energy and reduce GHG emissions.


The initial step in developing Manual 81 was to understand which systems and operating conditions are the most common at 3M facilities. There were multiple surveys sent out throughout the first year to gather information on utility systems (boilers, chillers, compressed air systems, etc.) and process systems (ovens, coaters, etc.). Once the data was gathered and analyzed, it helped structure the manual. In addition to the time and resource commitment from subject matter experts and the corporate energy team, the biggest challenge in developing Manual 81 was ensuring that the guidelines aligned with ASHRAE standards, Environment, Health, and Safety requirements, and 3M quality standards.

Building off the successful format of the Engineering Manual 80, the Energy Manual 81 provides a comprehensive guide to set global 3M standard expectations for incorporating energy-efficient design into every project. Each section outlines specific operating conditions and addresses both primary and any auxiliary equipment. It also outlines metering specifications based on specific energy consumption thresholds. 


Once completed, the release of the Manual was communicated officially by the Director of Engineering to all global sites. Then the corporate energy team presented the Manual in the Engineering Town Hall and rolled out training for all engineers through 3M’s learning system. Any employee with an energy-saving idea can consult Manual 81 to validate the opportunity. 

Measuring Success

Manual 81 supports 3M’s Energy Management System by providing a set of guidelines for both capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operational expenditure (OPEX) projects to help meet the site’s objectives and targets. 3M continues to make progress with ISO 50001 certification, with 36 sites certified representing over 85% of global energy spend. It also helps justify operating criteria for projects since Manual 81 follows industry ASHRAE standards.


Since the launch of Manual 81, there have been 494 projects entered into 3M’s Energy Cost Reduction Projects Database globally. Implemented projects have delivered 6,676,000 MMBtu in savings and 272,000 tons of CO2e savings with a payback period of 2 years. There are still 9,000,000 in MMBtu savings and 325,000 in CO2e savings identified for future implementation, which will contribute towards 3M’s 2025 sustainability goals.

In addition to being used for new construction and expansions, Manual 81 is also used to support ongoing energy efficiency improvements and upgrades at existing plants. When 3M conducts energy treasure hunts, Manual 81 is used to justify operational projects. Most recently, it has been used for thermal oxidizer and boiler optimization projects where environmental regulations and minimum energy requirements must be considered. To spread the word and highlight the value of this new resource, Manual 81 has been featured and presented in several internal and external conferences like 3M Tech Forum’s Climate Week, 3M’s Energy Manufacturing Live event, and the Association of Energy Engineers’ East Conference.