Last month, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution designating today Energy Efficiency Day, “in celebration of the economic and environmental benefits that have been driven by private sector innovation and Federal energy efficiency policies.”
Now in its fifth year, Energy Efficiency Day is a collaborative effort of dozens of energy efficiency advocacy groups around the country. ACC and its members are glad to participate and to echo its chief message, “Save Money. Cut Pollution. Create Jobs.” Energy efficiency is one of the smartest ways to achieve these goals.
Chemistry Drives Energy Efficiency Innovation
Chemistry has an essential role in energy efficiency. For over a century, chemistry has enabled solutions to some of the world’s most daunting sustainability challenges. This includes the desire to use energy wisely – making supplies go further while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering costs for families and businesses.
Chemistry is the science behind high-performance building insulation, sealants and wraps that save energy in our homes, offices and factories; lightweight plastic and composite vehicle parts that improve fuel efficiency; and innovations that are revolutionizing the way we generate and store energy — from solar cells and wind turbines to rechargeable batteries and more. Chemical industry scientists are developing new emission reduction technologies to safeguard the environment and people around the world.
Our industry has been a pioneer in the development of catalytic technologies. Catalysts are added substances that increase the rate of a chemical reaction so that less energy is used per unit of product. Reduced auto emissions, pharmaceutical breakthroughs, increased crop yields, and energy-saving laundry detergents are made possible by catalysis. About 90 percent of chemical processes employ catalysis in production.
Improving Performance in Our Operations
ACC members are continually seeking new ways to boost energy efficiency. Responsible Care® is the foundation for our commitment to sustainability. The energy efficiency of Responsible Care companies has improved by 19 percent since 1992. Since 1974, the U.S. chemical industry has improved energy efficiency by 46 percent.
The Responsible Care Energy Efficiency Awards program is one of many ACC initiatives to enhance energy efficiency. In May, ACC honored 13 of its member companies with 38 awards for implementing energy efficiency improvements in 2019. Member companies are required to consider operational energy efficiency as well as waste minimization, reuse and recycling when developing their environmental, health, safety and security plans.
Chemical makers and many other manufacturers use natural gas to create two forms of energy—steam and electricity—for industrial facilities. Known as combined heat and power (CHP), or cogeneration, this energy is generated close to where it’s needed, so little is lost in transmission. CHP can often produce energy twice as efficiently as older coal-burning electric utilities.
By maximizing energy efficiency’s contribution to the nation’s energy portfolio, policymakers can help keep energy reliable and affordable, enhance the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing, and promote sustainability. It’s a key tool in the fight against climate change.
Learn more: #EEDay2020 https://energyefficiencyday.org/