The industrial sector has one of the highest levels of energy consumption and therefore greatly impacts sustainable development around the world. Transitioning to renewable energy sources and becoming energy efficient are two ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the latter approach will take the least amount of initial investment, provide the quickest payback, and immediate rewards (i.e., cost savings, employee/company morale, and emissions reduction).
Energy efficiency is not a new concept, but its implementation has been slow and sometimes non existent in some factories. This is due to many factors, including: lack of in-house expertise and resources to initiate and implement an energy efficiency program, lack of funding for implementation of energy efficiency measures, lack of user-friendly tools, lack of institutionalized operational procedures and standards to set the energy efficiency program in the facilities, and most importantly energy efficiency has not been a part of the overall strategy.
To overcome these obstacles, this research proposes the introduction of energy efficiency into every layer of the company’s overall framework, i.e. the Manufacturing/Supply Process, Human and Organizational, and Information and Control layers. This will be achieved by creating a complete methodology to help industrial organizations to plan and institutionalize energy efficiency solutions as a company wide program. While a systems’ approach provides the foundation for the methodology, a web-based Task-Centered Workbook will provide the necessary tools for technical implementation.
Using such a methodology provides all the necessary elements to achieve a successful energy efficiency initiative. That is, a initiative with participation from all levels of the organization, where clear goals and targets are well defined, roles and responsibilities are clear, both financial and human resources are properly allocated, data is easily accessible and standard throughout the organization, easy to use tools and experts are available to support the implementation, training is provided, success is well publicized and employees rewarded, best practices are shared, and finally data is monitored and targets revised for continuous improvements.
The conceptual structure is now being implemented in ABB Inc., which is one of the largest industrial organizations in power and automation. So far the top management has approved the conceptual design, formed a steering committee, nominated key energy efficiency positions, has completed a project plan for the initiative and is currently working on the technical implementation of the needed web tools and institutionalization of best practices.
With an integrated energy efficiency methodology for factories, the industrial sector will no longer be the highest energy consumer but a contributor to sustainable development. This is an integral part of industrial ecology, which can also benefit from a structured framework that unifies all available tools to better support sustainable development.
|Commitee:||Ma, Hongbin, Noble, James|
|School:||University of Missouri - Columbia|
|Department:||Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering|
|School Location:||United States -- Missouri|
|Source:||MAI 51/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Industrial engineering, Sustainability, Environmental engineering|
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