A recent report reveals that good management practices in energy-intense environments have a spillover effect to that positively impacts energy efficiency. However, the authors also state that good management practices with non-energy specific targets are correlated with energy inefficiencies.
The important takeaway is that an organization can be operating very efficiently from a management perspective, but at the same time be very energy inefficient. We are seeing this in variety of industries across the U.S. The culture of “cheap energy” or “it’s just overhead” is persistent in the mindset of upper management. These mental models will take time to reshape, and no one should expect it to happen overnight. Read the rest of this entry »
Decision-makers in industrial firms might be tempted to think of water management in terms of inputs, processes, and outputs. You take in water from an outside source like a river or reservoir; you move it around your facility for cooling, cleaning, flushing toilets, and so on; then you treat the wastewater and discharge it out the back end.
But the emerging global water situation is forcing companies to look at their water more as an ecosystem service and as a scarce resource that has to be managed in cooperation with the larger community and across sectors. Read the rest of this entry »
Sometimes, when you have a tough job to do, you need to delegate; whether it’s to a subordinate, a consultant — or perhaps, to Mother Nature. That’s exactly what Envirogen Technologies has done in its quest to provide a comprehensive solution for controlling hazardous air pollution (HAP), volatile organic compounds (VOC), and odors, in order to allow industrial facilities to meet their obligations under state regulations and the Clean Air Act.
The company recently announced a new Sustainable Emissions Control offering that combines biological and enhanced adsorption treatment technologies. Read the rest of this entry »
A group of scientists claim to have hit upon an inexpensive, workable way to get carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, store it, and convert it into something that will “offset ocean acidification” — and produce hydrogen fuel in the bargain.
Think of it as giving the ocean a big Alka-Seltzer.
According to a recent press release from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), scientists have “demonstrated a new technique to remove and store atmospheric carbon dioxide while generating carbon-negative hydrogen and producing alkalinity, which can be used to offset ocean acidification.” Read the rest of this entry »
For the last 30 years or so, automakers have worked hard to reduce the amount of noise car engines — and cars in general — emit when they’re in motion. Engine-powered vehicles are so much quieter than they used to be, and noise pollution has been greatly reduced.
And when hybrid and then electric-powered cars came along, noise was almost completely eliminated. Gone was the belching of smoke from the tailpipe and the loud “hum” of a gas-powered engine; now, with electric vehicles (EVs), you can barely hear when a car is near you at all.
Great, right? Well, not for everyone. Read the rest of this entry »
The concept of quality management was foreign to most companies in early-to-mid 1980s. However, today most companies employ a full-time person or equivalent dedicated this function. Likewise, energy intense manufacturers are now employing teams of professionals whose job is to continually look for opportunities to improve energy performance.
Energy management is identified by practitioners and academics as the procurement, use, and performance of all energy sources for service or manufacturing industries. Energy efficiency is a concern for business managers who want to mitigate the risk of energy price fluctuations and emissions generated by burning fossil fuels. In a globally competitive environment, supply of energy is now more than ever a critical strategic asset to be proactively managed. Read the rest of this entry »
Recognizing the risks around looming water scarcity and stress, industrial firms are increasingly turning to zero-discharge models for treatment of wastewater.
Gena Leathers, water issue leader for corporate water strategy at The Dow Chemical Co., explained to me in an interview that zero-liquid discharge at its core involves “bringing in technologies that allow you to capture, recycle, and reuse water.” She told me that “in some areas of the world zero-liquid discharge is a requirement.” This is the case, she said, increasingly in Europe and India, and “the concept is gaining more and more awareness in the U.S. as well.” Read the rest of this entry »
The question of what role nuclear power will play in this country’s energy future is filled with uncertainty. On one hand, it is the only low-carbon source of gigawatt scale power that even environmentalists like James Lovelock and Stewart Brand have endorsed. On the other hand, post-Fukushima safety concerns, rising cost projections, and the steadily decreasing cost and rapid growth of renewables have led authorities like Amory Lovins to declare it an unnecessary risk in the decades to come. Read the rest of this entry »
A coalition that includes the U.S. federal government and over 200 major commercial building sector partners has issued a simple challenge to U.S. manufacturers: If you can build wireless sub-meters that cost less than $100 apiece and enable us to identify opportunities to save money by saving energy, we will buy them. A group of at least 18 manufacturers has already agreed to take up the challenge, pledging to produce devices that will meet the specifications outlined by the U.S. Dept. of Energy and its private sector partners that have signed letters of intent to purchase the wireless sub-meters. Read the rest of this entry »
In a webinar broadcast Tuesday afternoon, Larry Sherwood, vice president and COO of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) presented a positive snapshot of solar installations across the country in a preview of the IREC Solar Market and Installation Trends Report 2013, which will be released at the end of June.
According to Sherwood, who authored the report, “more than 90,000 photovoltaic installations were installed in the U.S. with a total capacity of 3.3 GW. This represents a 75 percent increase over installations completed in 2011. Installed utility capacity in 2012 increased by almost 2.5 times compared with 2011 and represents over half of the installed capacity last year. Distributed capacity also grew, but by a more modest 33 percent.” Read the rest of this entry »