Today “energy efficiency” is a buzz phrase often used when talking about green manufacturing or green living, but for some, it can be a confusing topic since it can be achieved in many ways.

 

How does energy efficiency work? Energy efficiency is simply using less energy to perform the same task. Reducing energy consumption lowers energy bills and reduces carbon footprint, improving the efforts of a company or individual to become more sustainable.

Sustainability initiatives often involve adding pieces of equipment or changing processes so they are more energy efficient. Here are a few examples that illustrate how greater energy efficiency is achieved, as well as some of the benefits that come along with these efforts.

Energy Efficiency At Work

 

Simply changing standard lightbulbs to energy-efficient lighting can promote a greater level of energy efficiency. Yet there are many additional ways companies across the world have lowered their energy usage, and in the process, have improved their sustainability efforts.

Look no further than Wal-Mart, which has become one of the largest commercial solar generators in the country. Wal-Mart has installed 105 megawatts of solar panels. That’s enough to power nearly 20,000 houses. The company has also installed LED lighting and energy-efficient appliances at its stores, as well as partnering with Bloom Energy to purchase green energy credits.

Samsung has both created and used ENERGY STAR appliances and electronics, which include a wide range of options for optimizing energy usage such as air conditioning units, refrigerators, commercial dishwashers and air-source heat pumps.

In addition to 11 of its facilities earning ENERGY STAR certification, General Motors’ Arlington-based assembly plant plans to build up to 125,000 trucks each year using only wind power that comes from turbines.

how does energy efficiency work

Tesla vehicles are also known for their low energy usage and are known to have the highest energy efficiency of any electric vehicle. While hybrid vehicles are energy efficient options as well for company fleets, Tesla vehicles are powered solely by electricity through the recharging of lithium-ion batteries, making them among the most energy-efficient cars.

Even waste disposal can be more efficient in manufacturing today. In fact, waste disposal offers the opportunity for improving a company’s sustainability efforts, as we’ll explore next.

 

Energy Efficiency During Waste Disposal

 

For industries that generate solvent waste, Temarry Recycling offers a closed loop recycling program that is restorative and regenerative.

Based in Southern California, Temarry operates a facility just across the border in Tecate, Mexico that accepts solvent-based liquids, solids and sludge. (You can find out which ones in our Acceptable Waste Codes Guide.) This recycling system is an example of the circular economy in action, which ultimately aims to keep materials out of landfills and at their highest utility and value.

Here’s how the system works and why it offers a more energy-efficient option for companies.

  • A waste to energy process converts high BTU organic solids to steam. This steam is then used as energy on-site, reducing the amount of electricity used to power equipment.

  • For example, a solvent distillation process uses this steam as an alternative energy source to power recovery stills. Through distillation, spent solvents are re-manufactured and sold back into industry for their original solvent properties.

  • A water treatment process then extracts usable water from industrial hazardous wastes, including acids, bases, coolants, oily water and latex paint.

  • Treated water is then used for industrial needs on-site, such as during the waste to energy process and in the cooling tower.

    how does energy efficiency work


 

 

 

 

Benefits Of Being More Energy Efficient

 

Perhaps the biggest benefit of taking steps to become more energy efficient is the financial advantages companies can receive. According to ENERGY STAR, buildings that are energy-efficient and have earned the ENERGY STAR label use nearly 35% less energy than average buildings.

According to the organization, that equals a savings of:

  • About $0.60 per square foot on operations and maintenance expenses annually

  • About $0.53 per square foot on utility expenses annually

The news is even better should a company decide to sell a property. When compared to typical buildings, energy-efficient buildings garner higher sales prices … as much as 31% higher.

It’s important to keep in mind that volatile energy markets can also have an impact on your business and bottom line.

Energy efficiency initiatives can even boost employees’ productivity and health by installing more efficient HVAC systems. According to the International Energy Agency, buildings with better levels of thermal quality and air quality promote healthier working conditions.

Companies that work to promote energy efficiency within their own walls will also likely enjoy improved brand reputation. A Unilever study found that nearly 33% of consumers buy from brands based on the social and environmental impact of those companies.

For companies that focus on enhancing their energy savings as part of their waste management plans, they can expect many of these same benefits. Those that send their spent solvents to companies like Temarry Recycling for closed-loop recycling can assured that this energy-efficient process offers additional sustainable benefits as well.

For example, while fuel blending delays the disposal of materials, the end product serves a different purpose. Therefore, there will always be a need for more of the original material (and energy used to obtain that material). Temarry Recycling also allows West Coast companies to reduce their carbon footprint and transportation costs, since the nearest fuel blending facilities are across the country in Kansas and Arkansas.

Considering that the transportation industry accounts for 29% emissions in the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, sending solvent waste for recycling to Temarry can dramatically cut a company’s carbon footprint and transportation costs due to a lesser amount of fuel needed.

So what happens to those companies that don’t embrace energy efficiency in their operations? Our article, What Is The Result Of Wasted Energy?, explores some of the biggest missed opportunities for companies today and what you can do to avoid throwing your money away.

Are you Recycling or Fuel Blending

Larry Burton

Larry Burton

Larry Burton has over 25 years of experience in the hazardous waste and chemical industries. He has worked for several major corporations, including Honeywell, and can speak on a variety of industry-related topics. He has specialized knowledge in Circular Economy, Solvent Distillation, Closed Loop Recycling Technology, Waste to Energy, and the H061 Paradigm. Larry has extensive knowledge of the latest technologies that allow businesses to explore real-world sustainable solutions. These solutions will help reduce their carbon footprint and improve their profitability. Larry is currently the CEO of Temarry Recycling.

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