A group made up of environmental groups and labor unions recently released a white paper suggesting ways to increase manufacturing efficiency while fighting climate change.

Policy on Industrial Energy Efficiency,” written by the BlueGreen Alliance, recommends federal tax credits for combined heat and power systems, as well as manufacturing credits, as a way to spur economic growth.

“Industrial energy efficiency projects provide many cost-effective opportunities to reduce energy bills and pay dividends in the long run,” said Joseph Nigro, general President of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation International Association, formerly known as the Sheet Metal Workers union. “Jumpstarting projects like this across the country with current technology will build the competiveness of our domestic industries, while creating and maintaining quality jobs.”

The alliance cities a study that says increasing manufacturing efficiency could reduce primary industrial energy consumption 21 percent within seven years and save U.S. industry $47 billion per year.

“Making America’s industries more energy-efficient is critical to the wellbeing of our economy and the environment,” said Peter Lehner, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We know energy efficiency works. And while we can build on existing programs and policies, we also need bold leadership to ensure manufacturers have the tools and resources they need to cut energy waste, reduce costs, and help slash pollution."