Most of our manufacturing processes are not energy-intensive, but we are committed to reducing our energy consumption to minimize our greenhouse gas emissions, reduce costs and create more efficient facilities.
To reduce energy use, we follow the seven steps of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® Guidelines for Energy Management:
These efforts are supported by an internal online site for sharing energy management training documentation, tools, resources and best practices. In addition, our tracking system helps us gauge performance on a timely basis.
Our locations have been successful in reducing their energy usage by following the ENERGY STAR guidelines and through the commitment of our people to reduce energy in the workplace, from turning off the lights to installing energy-efficient equipment.
Small actions reap big energy savings
It wasn’t one big change but a series of smaller actions that added up to a 15 percent reduction in energy intensity at our Architectural Coatings operations in Guadalupe during 2017.
Actions taken included:
• Replacing seven diesel vehicles with hybrid cars;
• Using LED lights in place of fluorescent fixtures;
• Installing more energy-efficient air conditioners;
• Replacing a thermal diesel forklift with an electric one;
• Monitoring fuel consumption of non-electric forklifts;
• Installing a timer to automatically shut off the forklift battery charger; and
• Sending an eco-friendly tip to all employees each week.
The plant was able to achieve the double-digit improvement in energy intensity despite a 30 percent increase in production during the year.
Energy consumption directly impacts the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) we emit, which is why we measure our global energy performance against our GHG-reduction goal. Our business units also set annual goals to reduce their energy intensity.
In the past few years, our sale of energy-intensive businesses and several acquisitions of coatings companies helped us significantly lower our energy intensity through shifts in our product mix. Becoming a lower-energy-intensive company reduces our GHG emissions, energy costs and risk of being impacted by increased global regulation of carbon emissions.
We consumed 14.3 million British thermal units (BTUs) of energy in 2017. Our energy intensity was 3.39 million BTUs per metric ton of production, a 22 percent decrease over 2016 and a 50 percent decline since 2012. We also saw corresponding reductions in our direct (31 percent) and indirect (3 percent) energy intensities compared to 2016.
Million BTUs per metric ton of production
Direct energy consumption is the amount of primary energy we combust on site. Our direct energy sources may include coal, natural gas, fuel distilled from crude oil, propane, biofuels, ethanol and hydrogen. Indirect energy refers to the energy we consume that is generated by external suppliers. We consume indirect energy through electricity, heat, steam and electricity generated from renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind.