WASHINGTON - Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced the launch of the Save Energy Now® Leader Program, which will provide technical assistance and resources to manufacturers that pledge significant improvements in energy efficiency. Thirty-two companies representing a broad spectrum of the nation’s manufacturing sector joined with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Cathy Zoi to sign a voluntary pledge to reduce their energy intensity by 25 percent over the next decade.

Manufacturers signing the pledge include: Danfoss, Honeywell, Ingersoll Rand/Trane, Owens Corning, Schneider Electric, Spirax Sarco Inc., and United Technologies Corp. (parent of Carrier Corp.).

“These companies’ commitments to energy efficiency not only generate significant energy and carbon savings, but also show the entire business community the profitable steps that can be taken to move us all toward a clean energy future,” said Chu.

“Working together with American manufacturers, we will leverage the potential of energy efficiency to create new jobs, make our economy more competitive, and reduce carbon pollution.”

According to the DOE, the manufacturing sector in the United States accounts for more than 18 million jobs, as well as nearly 30 percent of the energy used nationwide and 27 percent of the country’s carbon emissions. The Obama administration has made major commitments to improving energy efficiency as a path toward enhancing energy security and strengthening the American economy.

The Leader program is a new component of the existing Save Energy Now initiative through which manufacturers partner with DOE to conduct energy audits and assessments designed to identify the opportunities for energy and cost savings in the companies’ operations.

Participating businesses also have access to tools and training to implement recommendations designed to help reduce their energy use and lower operating costs. Over 2,000 plants received energy assessments through Save Energy Now from 2006 to 2009. To date, those assessments have identified opportunities for $1.3 billion in identified cost savings, 119 trillion Btu of natural gas savings, and 11.2 million metric tons of CO2 savings.

The 32 charter Leader companies have agreed to establish energy use and energy intensity baselines, and develop an energy management plan over the next 12 months in order to meet their goal of a 25 percent energy intensity reduction.

As indicated by the special Leader designation, DOE said these companies are coming forward to serve as actual role models and pace setters on an ongoing basis for others in the manufacturing sector. In return, the companies will receive access to select DOE resources, as well as national recognition for energy management achievements.

Publication date:03/01/2010