- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) says its Better Buildings, Better Plants initiative is growing and saving money, as more companies join the program which includes a voluntary goal for manufacturers to reduce their energy intensity by 25% across a 10-year program.
- In an update issued on Wednesday, DOE said more than 200 partners in the program, representing more than 10% of the country's manufacturing energy footprint, have reported savings of more than $5.3 billion in cumulative energy costs.
- Though President Trump's administration has slowed some energy efficiency efforts, DOE says the Better Plants partnership represents the White House's "true partnership with manufacturers." The agency says the program has picked up 12 new program partners recently, and that 53 have achieved their energy savings goals.
Trump's administration has never been particularly enthusiastic about energy efficiency — fuel efficiency and appliance standards have both come under fire — but the Better Plants program is growing and now represents 12% of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint — meaning there is plenty of space for more savings.
DOE now has over 200 partners in the Better Plants program, and says the goals have saved 1.06 quadrillion BTUs of energy through the end of 2017. On average, participating manufacturers are showing annual reductions in energy intensiveness — the amount of energy used per unit of good or service produced — of 2.8%.
General Motors, Legrand North America and C.F. Martin & Co. have all achieved their goals of reducing energy intensity in their U.S. facilities by 25%, according to DOE. New partners include Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Leggett & Platt, Plastics Engineering Co. and Krage Manufacturing.
Participating companies are not only saving energy but are also working with the national laboratories to support "development and validation of technologies and innovation," Rob Ivester, director of DOE's Advanced Manufacturing Office, said in the Better Plants' Annual Update.
Better Plants is a program within DOE's Better Buildings initiative that wants to see commercial, public, industrial and residential buildings become 20% more energy efficient over the next decade.
But the success of Better Plants comes as Trump's administration has shown little interest in other efficiency avenues. Several appliance standards have been delayed, and the Environmental Protection Agency proposed freezing automobile emission standards at 2020 levels and revoking California's authority to set its own rules for vehicle efficiency and electric cars.