US: new Energy Star focus on energy efficiency in glass manufacturing

According to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) news release, the new Energy Performance Indicators (EPIs) for glass flat and container glass manufacturing plants are the first of their kind for…

According to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) news release, the new Energy Performance Indicators (EPIs) for glass flat and container glass manufacturing plants are the first of their kind for these industries. According to the agency, the US glass industry spends more than USD 2 billion annually on energy, while an EPI also was created for the food-processing sector, which is said to spend almost USD 7 billion per year. Improving the energy efficiencies of these two industries by 10%, would says EPA, save almost USD 900 million in energy costs and more than 150 trillion Btu, also reducing greenhouse gas emissions equal to those from the electricity use of more than one million homes for one year. The new Energy Star EPI for glass, developed in partnership with the industry, is intended to help companies assess energy performance, fix competitive goals for improvement as well as shift the energy performance of the entire industry. Energy Star has been working with the glass industry by means of a Glass Manufacturing Focus, on a partnership between its Energy Star programme and glass manufacturing companies to improve energy efficiency. Energy Star has a number of industry-specific focus groups. The purpose is to share ideas and, ultimately, to help create this EPI energy model, which can be used to look at your relative energy performance and, if you“re in the upper 25% of factories in your category such as a float glass plant, you can qualify for Energy Star status. It“s an industrial Energy Star rating. A number of companies have done that in other industries, says Jeff Yigdall, director of engineering and international business of PPG – Glass Business & Discovery Center, who has been involved with the EPA“s focus group for about two years, and who says that a great deal of the discussions ofthe group have been on energy-saving ideas. We“ve combined a number of focus groups together so we“ve gotten a cross-industry discussion on energy savings and ideas. Many of which are not process-specific or proprietary in nature but are more general industry systems such as lighting, compressed air, water, steam and so on. These kinds of things are common to many industries so what one industry applies, another industry can also use and there“s no real competitive implications because we“re all helping ourselves and each other, says Yigdall. Plants awarded the Energy Star must score within the top 25% of energy efficiency within their industry. Plants achieving a rating of 75 or higher using their specific Energy Star EPI are entitled to apply for the Energy Star rating, which are awarded for a specific year. To be eligible for Energy Star recognition, more than 50% of the plant“s production must include the appropriate products (in this case, glass). To use the EPI, the plant must submit annual energy purchases or transfers for the current year for each energy source and fuel type, as well as total amount of glass sand in short tons used for production at the plant. Plants must also account for energy used to produce compressed air, steam and chilled water. EPIs are based on available, and verifiable, statistics for usage of raw materials, such as sand. In float glass [production], the sand is generally about 72% of the total glass so the sand is a good alias for the glass that you“re producing, Yigdall explains. The data is then combined with the usage information for Btus of natural gas used and kilowatt hours of electricity, which together defines the plant“s energy footprint and relative energy performance. Companies achieving the rating will be recognized by the EPA. There are no Energy Star-certified glass manufacturing plants at the moment, but that is soon expected to change. Energy Star puts out a list of criteria [for partners], the main thrust of which is to have an energy management program. The outline of the components of that energy management program includes, obviously, measurement of energy and putting together plans for meeting energy goals. It“s the typical sequence of having goals, setting milestones, getting measurements, creating action plans, reviewing the action plans and renew, says Yigdall.