The Energy-Efficient Path of Utility Programs for U.S. Industrial Manufacturers Leads to Cost Savings


Two terms often confused are energy conservation and energy efficiency. Energy conservation, while technically a form of energy efficiency, is primarily small measures, including turning off unnecessary lights and raising the thermostat setting for the air conditioner. While these measures help reduce energy usage, they are not the solution most industrial manufacturers need.

An energy efficiency focus is a strategy to reduce energy consumption through energy-efficient upgrades and capital expenses. With each new equipment purchase, consideration of the operating cost of the new equipment and the incentives available to tighten the payback gap is necessary.

Many times, choosing a more energy-efficient option comes with higher upfront costs. The intent of utility incentives is to help make the investment decision easier by paying for the additional costs of that initial investment. If the consumer buys something more energy efficient, it is better for them and the utility. That is why energy efficiency programs for industrial manufacturers exist on every level of government in the United States, including federal, state, and local.

These are usually utility-sector ratepayer-funded programs aimed at technological upgrades like motors and efficient systems and controls like smart manufacturing. Industrial energy efficiency programs are proven models that allow manufacturers to gain significant energy savings with low to zero upfront costs and without sacrificing productivity.

Energy Efficiency is in the Percentages

Energy efficiency is assessed through percentages. The goal is to have manufacturers produce at optimal output levels with the lowest consumed energy level possible. Installing high-efficiency motors can reduce operating costs by 35 percent while still performing the work required by the application. This percentage reduction increases productivity and saves energy and costs.

The power of energy efficiency programs to lower the percentage level of energy consumption within the U.S. industrial sector is transformative. As more manufacturers adopt energy-efficient practices, the potential to reduce the overall U.S. industrial carbon footprint becomes more obtainable.

Net-Zero by 2050 through Utility Programs

The push for U.S. utilities to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 is a tremendous undertaking. The ambitious goal demands meticulous planning, strategic initiatives, and comprehensive incentive programs to drive the desired changes.

Incentive programs are pivotal in motivating utilities and industrial manufacturers to embrace sustainable practices. Additionally, financial incentives, tax credits, and regulatory support encourage the adoption of cleaner technologies and the development of innovative solutions.

Why Utility Programs Target Industrial Manufacturers

Utility programs target industrial manufacturers because the industry saves more energy per dollar on average than any other sector. Moreover, industrial customers are twice as cost-effective for utility programs than residential customers, mainly because a manufacturer uses more energy per unit of area than the average homeowner. When the use is high, so is the opportunity for improvement.

As industrial manufacturers reduce their energy usage, the need for new power plants and system upgrades decreases. This reduction in power plants and system upgrades lowers energy prices for all utility customers and shrinks the industry’s carbon footprint.

The programs reduce energy consumption through various technologies, equipment upgrades, and energy management strategies. However, industrial manufacturers’ operations vary; therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach is impractical. Luckily, utilities offer various options, including customized incentives, prescription rebates, technical assistance, and more to tailor solutions to an individual facility.

Tips for Manufacturers Exploring Utility Programs

Utilities create a wide scope of energy efficiency programs that are responsive and tailored to the needs of industrial manufacturers. Administrators for utilities are constantly taking customer feedback on ways to increase assistance and implement best practices to ensure industrial customers receive the best efficiency upgrades possible.

Manufacturers should look for programs with staff that fully explain and quantify the cost-saving opportunities and additional benefits of investing in energy efficiency upgrades.

Communication is also vital as manufacturers explore utility programs. There needs to be an open line of communication, as trust is essential in identifying energy-saving opportunities through analysis.

Manufacturers should expect staff to gain a professional understanding of their facilities, including production processes and operating issues. This level of professional experience makes receiving appropriate advice and support possible.

It’s advisable for manufacturers interested in utility programs to hire an energy efficiency consultant who specializes in the processes involved within facilities and the utility programs available to them.

Consultants audit facilities to successfully identify inefficiencies and devise practical solutions. They can find the right utility program, usually with a combination of prescriptive options for common issues and customized options for complex issues.

What Manufacturers Should Expect from Energy Efficiency Consultants

The administrative side of programs should not be a barrier to participation. Consultants find a balance between meeting program requirements and keeping the process relatively simple, ensuring that industrial manufacturers find it easy to understand and submit applications, thereby promoting higher participation.

Continuous and targeted outreach efforts are crucial. Utility programs have frequent updates, and consultants consistently engage with industrial customers to inform them about program offerings, fostering awareness.

Collaborating with federal, state, and regional agencies and local trade associations is a powerful strategy. By tapping into the expertise and networks of these partners, consultants broaden their reach and offerings to industrial manufacturers and enhance program implementation.

Consultants establish and report on energy-saving goals over medium- and long-term cycles, providing a roadmap for industrial manufacturers. These goals act as signals for investment decisions and create a sense of certainty regarding utility program objectives.

Contact APenergy Today

With over 35 years of experience working with industrial manufacturers, the APenegry team identifies areas of inefficiency and makes data-driven decisions to reduce energy usage and costs.
APenergy helps manufacturers set energy-saving goals, track progress, and achieve favorable returns on investment. Companies interested in reducing energy consumption and decreasing monthly energy costs through energy-efficient solutions should contact the APenergy team, the leading sustainable energy consulting company. Our APenergy consultants provide many services to obtain practical energy solutions.