New Case Studies in Energy Management Show the Path from 'Why' to 'How'

Business leaders have long agreed on the “why” of environmental management: seeing the value in increased profits, reduced waste and a smaller carbon footprint. But the “how” has often been the stumbling block.

Two case studies released today from adidas Group and the Housing Authority of the City and County of Denver (DHA) help to answer that question, detailing energy management strategies that deliver tremendous value and are great examples for other organizations to follow.

Material Handling Equipment at adidas Group

The adidas Group tackled the dual challenge of improving efficiency in existing distribution centers as well as when specifying material handling equipment in new facilities. Recognizing that only reducing upfront costs during design won’t optimize efficiency over the long term, the adidas Group is now analyzing the lifecycle cost of conveyer belts and other equipment. See the full case study here.

Meanwhile, DHA tackled the challenge of expanding renewable energy resources despite limited capital funds. The solution: an innovative power purchase agreement that enabled the installation of a 2.5 megawatt solar project with minimal upfront costs and a stream of lease payments to benefit DHA. If the 3,300 housing authorities in the U.S. duplicated Denver’s success, their rooftops could produce enough solar energy to power more than 1 million homes. See the full case study here.

Solar installation at DHA

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of the recently released case studies of JLL and Urban Innovations, which have risen to the City of Chicago’s challenge to reduce commercial building energy consumption by 20 percent in the next five years. By focusing on education, automation and data, JLL and Urban Innovations each took leaps forward in energy efficiency.

EDF is thrilled to share these case studies as scalable solutions that companies across a wide range of industry sectors can adopt. Together, they show the diversity of organizations that benefit from EDF Climate Corps, and whet our appetite for the projects on tap for the summer of 2015, including Verizon, Shorenstein Properties and Hill+Knowlton Strategies.

We are seeing the dawn of a new era for EDF Climate Corps, as our eight years of partnerships bear new and interesting fruit, with the potential to save energy in hundreds – or even thousands – of organizations. We are eager to hear how you are making the transition from “why” to “how” in energy management, and how EDF can help. Contact us at info@edfclimatecorps.org.

2015: A Year of Business and Policy Action on Climate

Tom Murray, VP Corporate Partnerships, EDFFor most of us, New Year’s marks the time when we set annual resolutions (personal and professional) and get to work on tackling the priorities for the year ahead. In my hometown of Washington, DC a new year also means that Congress comes back into session, lawmakers and speechwriters ready their agendas and proposals, and the president delivers the State of the Union address.

From what we heard last night and in recent announcements, 2015 could be a big year for action on climate – from government and the private sector alike. But big results will take leadership on all fronts.

Leadership from our government…

Addressing climate change is supported by the vast majority of Americans and the Obama administration is taking bold steps to curb the United States’ contribution to climate change. Last night, we saw President Obama tell the nation “no challenge – no challenge – poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change” in his State of the Union address. The President also strongly reiterated his commitment to work to ensure “American leadership drives international action” on climate change.

It is clear that climate change is an urgent national priority. Fortunately, the Administration is carrying out its promises under the Climate Action Plan, and steps taken and soon-to-be-taken have helped put us on the right path. From the proposal to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, expected fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, to last week’s announcement of steps to address methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, we have seen a lot of progress to address climate change since the last State of the Union. Further, the November announcement of a joint China-U.S. agreement to address climate change on a global scale underscores how crucial U.S. leadership is at this juncture in achieving a binding worldwide climate deal. Much more work remains and leadership at all levels will be necessary to meet our climate goals.

…and from our peers

Leadership can and should also come from top U.S. companies. By both leading in efforts to reduce emissions from their operations and supporting the policy changes needed to solve climate change at scale. We saw this trend last year, when a range of companies and investors took bold steps in terms of climate action:

Supporting the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan would create the first national limits on carbon pollution from exiting power plants and the EPA is scheduled to finalize the plan this summer.

Through flexible, state-specific implementation plans, it is expected to achieve a 30% reduction in carbon pollution from the U.S. power sector by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. In finalizing the plan, the EPA paves the way for states to present their individual plans for meeting the standards by June 2016.

Public opinion polls across the country have consistently found strong support among Americans for reducing emissions from existing power plants. EDF has been active in rallying its members to submit comments in support of the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan – in fact, we delivered nearly half a million comments last year – and we’ve also reached out directly to companies to talk about how they can benefit from engaging in the rule’s implementation, as we did during our November webinar.

21 companies joined us for the webinar, where EDF Senior Manager Mandy Warner and I answered questions about how to get involved, and what the midterm elections would likely mean for the Clean Power Plan’s implementation.

Time to act

By engaging on the Clean Power Plan, companies that care about clean energy have near-term opportunities to expand the demand and market for renewable energy and energy efficiency and shape policy in the regions where they operate.

Companies across sectors can leverage the changing policy landscape to better meet their carbon reduction, green power purchasing and efficiency goals. For those firms in energy efficiency, renewable energy and metering / demand response sector, there are clear growth opportunities as well.

EDF stands ready to help businesses figure out the best avenues for engaging – whether it’s sharing their stories, making public comments or engaging constructively in the public policy debate in the states where they operate.

The Plan represents an important occasion for companies to benefit and lead by aligning their internal energy strategy and operations with their external engagement in public policy. This alignment is what we call the business-policy nexus and represents the next step in corporate sustainability leadership.  It’s what is needed to solve the climate challenge and we’d be thrilled to have you join us in paving the way to a clean energy future this new year.

Methane Mitigation Sector: EPA Actions Good for Industry, Will Curb Waste and Protect Communities

sean_wright_287x377A rising chorus of companies in the oil & gas services sector are adding their voices to the majority of Americans who think it’s a smart idea to limit vast waste of methane taking place every day in the nation’s the oil and gas operations. These companies in the methane mitigation industry are experts in finding and fixing methane waste. They issued statements welcoming the EPA’s announcement of planned rules aimed at reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas value chain.

As the ones who are working overtime to provide technologies and services to minimize release of methane and other pollutants throughout the natural gas value chain, these companies see limiting methane emissions as smart business for the oil and gas industry.

Consider their remarks:

  • “Rebellion Photonics welcomes today’s announcement from the EPA regarding its methane plan. It is a positive step towards ensuring we minimize emissions of methane, a short-term climate forcer, from the US oil and gas value chain. America’s shale revolution holds vast potential to both power our economy and drive environmental gains. Limiting the amount of methane that leaks from natural gas equipment ensures that we will maximize the environmental benefits of America’s plentiful natural gas resources,” said Rebellion Photonics, a manufacturer of specialized cameras that detect methane leaks.
  • “The FSA and its members are committed to doing its part to address climate change. The FSA is well equipped to work with our partners in the oil and gas sector, the EPA and the Obama Administration in finding solutions and being a technical resource to curtail methane emissions,” said the Fluid Sealing Association, which represents major US manufacturers of sealing technology that helps limit emissions of methane.
  • “Apogee Scientific, Inc. looks forward to working closely with the EPA and the Oil and Gas sector to reduce the environmental and health impacts of oil and natural gas development in the United States. As a company based in Colorado, a state with the country’s strongest methane rules, we have seen first-hand how good, comprehensive policy can drive environmental, economic, and local community benefits. The EPA should look at Colorado as the model of how good methane policy can benefit all stakeholders involved,” said Apogee Scientific, a Colorado-based maker of leak detection equipment.

These statements express the clear private-sector support for smart, common sense limits on methane emissions that will level the playing field for operators nationwide and drive down emissions.

Curbing leaks and minimizing vented methane keeps gas in the pipeline for their clients, improves air quality for communities and reduces how much of this supercharged climate pollutant is released into the atmosphere.

Less waste at a low cost

These companies manufacture the kinds of proven, cost-effective technologies highlighted in a 2014 report by consultancy ICF International that can significantly and cost-effectively reduce emissions. ICF found that by using the products and services provided by these American companies, the oil and gas sector can reduce emissions by 40% for, on average, less than a penny per thousand cubic feet (mcf) of natural gas produced.

Furthermore, those investments would save the oil and gas industry over $1 billion a year in wasted product, enough gas to heat nearly 6 million homes a year.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: U.S. manufacturing industry tackling methane emissions

There are over 75 American companies with over 500 company locations spread throughout 46 states involved in the methane mitigation business.  More widespread adoption of methane mitigation technologies and services driven by the EPA’s proposed rule will give a boost to the U.S. manufacturing sector and create jobs, particularly for small businesses, which make up almost 60% of the methane mitigation industry. It will give a boost to local economies, many of which are in areas most in need of cutting emissions, such as Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado.

The companies within this industry make the products we need to fix this problem, and are continuously investing in new technologies to better find and fix sources of emissions. They are solutions-oriented and stand ready to help the oil and gas industry to solve this problem.

Join Us Tomorrow for a Webinar on the Green Freight Journey

The Green Freight Journey is a five-step framework for freight optimization projects. Leading up to our January 14th webinar, EDF is taking a brief look at each step of the Journey.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Life’s a journey, not the destination.” Your Green Freight efforts are no exception.

The Green Freight Journey is about setting long-term goals and continuously learning.  Each time you reach a “destination,” remember to celebrate your success and share your learnings broadly within your organization and network.

Once you’ve acknowledged your success, challenge your department to take on new and more complex projects. As emissions from global goods movement continue to increase, the changes you make will make a difference and influence others to do the same.

To learn more about the Green Freight Journey, join us tomorrow, January 14th at 12pm ET for a webinar led by EDF expert, Jason Mathers. During the webinar, we will go into detail about the Green Freight Journey framework, review real-world case examples and highlight tools EDF is making available to help companies progress on their journey.

During the webinar, participants will:

  • Be introduced to the steps of a Green Freight Journey and receive tips for success on each;
  • Hear real-world examples of companies that have cut emissions and costs by optimizing freight moves;
  • Review existing tools, including a green freight benchmarking survey and the EDF Green Freight Handbook; and
  • Learn how an EDF Climate Corps fellow helped Ocean Spray Cranberries identify new green freight opportunities

Register now

Steps on the Green Freight Journey:

Be a Green Freight Superhero

Watch our EDF Supply Chain Heroes video to learn how logistics managers can channel their "superpowers" to drive their companies' sustainability efforts. The choices they make, such as moving cargo via rail or participating in a truckload consolidation network, have the power to slash costs and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Become a green freight superhero at your organization today!

Two Bold Efforts to Speed Methane Detection Technology to Market

YOLD_well_photo

Surging national focus among both industry leaders and government officials on the problem of methane emissions has put a sudden new premium on tools and technologies to help identify the leaks and other sources where the potent, heat-trapping greenhouse gas is escaping into the atmosphere. The good news is that some of the planet’s best innovators are rising to the challenge.

 Two major initiatives are helping uncover simpler, faster solutions: The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)’s Methane Observation Networks with Innovative Technology to Obtain Reductions Program grants (MONITOR for short), and the Methane Detectors Challenge, led by EDF and industry partners.

Fixing and repairing methane leaks is one of our most pressing climate challenges – and also one of our biggest opportunities. Improvements in methane detection technology will help the oil & gas sector find and fix leaks with the speed we expect in the digital age. In addition, reducing leaks can help clear the air in surrounding communities, and boost the revenue of companies that act quickly to repair them by keeping more product in the pipeline.

ARPA-E’s MONITOR

Last December, ARPA-E announced $30 million in awards to 11 methane detection innovators, from blue chips like IBM and General Electric (GE), to specialized firms like Rebellion Photonics and Physical Sciences Inc. Grants and assistance from ARPA-E’s MONITOR program will help these companies to accelerate development of early-stage methane detection and quantification technologies for use across the oil & gas supply chain. Here are a few of the funded projects:

  • GE’s project focuses on a novel hollow optical fiber that allows methane to pass through it that can detect methane along its length, allowing for significant flexibility in how it is deployed;
  • Duke University is developing a sensor that can distinguish between methane from different sources, such as agriculture and oil and gas fields, as well as detect other hazardous compounds such as benzene; and
  • Rebellion Photonics is developing a low-cost and portable miniaturized detection system that will incorporate cloud-based data processing that can stream results to mobile devices, allowing for faster notification of leaks.

These investments are a powerful example of government collaborating with the private sector, filling a critical funding gap for core R&D. Across the economy, we’ve seen huge advances and cost reductions in both sensing technology and big data analytics to create actionable intelligence for business of all kinds. The aim now is to unleash that same creative process to reduce climate-damaging methane leakage and product waste.

Methane Detectors Challenge

  • Dalian Actech's infrared laser-based methane detection system
  • RAE Systems/SenseAir's "alco-lock"
  • University of Colorado Boulder's integrated circuit board solution outfitted with a network of low-cost, commercially available sensors
  • Quanta3's Dirk Richter preparing equipment for installation

In parallel with ARPA-E, the Methane Detectors Challenge (MDC), run jointly by EDF and select industry leaders and launched in April 2014, is marching on through technology testing.

With the Methane Detectors Challenge, we dared developers and engineers to design cutting-edge, cost-effective methane monitors that could help the oil & gas industry more quickly detect and ultimately reduce methane emissions. Combined with MONITOR, our project packs a one-two punch of innovation for methane detection, propelling technologies forward at different stages of development.

Through the proposal process and our first round of independent testing, we’ve put five technologies through their paces in a laboratory setting. Four groups’ sensors – Dalian Actech, Honeywell/SenseAir, Quanta3 and University of Colorado – rose to the surface in terms of accuracy, cost considerations and overall promise. The four groups have been invited to a second round of largely outdoor field testing focused on more complete detection systems.

The best performers that meet required specifications are expected to continue on to industry pilots slated for late 2015.

Two Strategies, One Goal

MONITOR and MDC are complementary initiatives. MDC is speeding methane detection technologies that are close to “prime time” today, while galvanizing industry demand for new technologies and monitoring strategies. MONITOR makes longer-term seed investments and provides technical and market support for the breakthroughs of tomorrow. MDC takes a laser focus on oil & gas well pads and compressors, while MONITOR casts the net more widely including pipelines and large area monitoring.

We don’t yet know which of the technologies across the programs will ultimately be transformative, but it’s a strong and diverse field, and this market has room and need for a range of successful approaches. Active participation of partners like Shell on the MDC signals industry demand for the next generation of technology to find and fix methane leaks quickly and cost-effectively.

With two bold efforts to get technologies ready for the market – and this first round of testing showing positive results –we’re headed for game-changing tools to help control this climate super-pollutant.

Further reading:

The Green Freight Journey: Declare a Goal

The Green Freight Journey is a five-step framework for freight optimization projects. Leading up to our January 14th webinar, EDF is taking a brief look at each step of the Journey.

Green Freight Journey

These first three steps of the Green Freight Journey are fundamentally about getting “up to speed” on your journey. You start with your objective and metrics; launch a pilot or two; and then embrace the approach with wider adoption and a formal recognition. Now it’s time to invest in progress over the long term.

Companies set themselves up for longer-term success and spur innovation by declaring a goal, which is step 4 of the journey.

To do this, companies need to:

  • Assess long-term opportunities – More than just looking at what they can move forward on today, companies need to be thinking along the lines of what  they can build towards over the next 3-5 years.
  • Focus on continuous improvement – The metrics-driven approach we discuss throughout the Green Freight Journey will be key here. A long-term goal backed by objective metrics inoculates your effort from the threat of “big shiny object” projects – for example, that pet project of an executive that might be great for a press release, but won’t move the needle forward on the metrics.
  • Choose an actionable timeframe – The goal should be far enough on the horizon that you will be able to make some significant network changes over the time frame. It should be close enough, though, to be actionable.
  • Set specific targets – Your goal should be framed clearly so that all team members will understand when the project can be deemed a success.

Many companies are already setting goals for their freight operations; here are some examples to get you thinking:

Join me on January 14 at 12PM ET for a webinar that will introduce you to the full Green Freight Journey framework, review real-world case examples and highlight tools EDF is making available to help companies progress on their journey.

Register here today for this informative webinar.

Steps on the Green Freight Journey:

The Green Freight Journey: Accelerate Performance

The Green Freight Journey is a five-step framework for freight optimization projects. Leading up to our January 14th webinar, EDF is taking a brief look at each step of the Journey.

Once you have completed your green freight pilot project(s), it’s time to start applying your learnings at scale. Build off the success of your pilot—from one or two projects, can you now expand your program to five or ten? Below are some useful tips to help your company take the next step in the Green Freight Journey.

  • Formalize the team  It’s critical that your company’s Green Freight efforts are given a clear structure. Recognize team members for their sustainability efforts as part of the evaluation process. Put in place procedures for sharing results and bringing forward new ideas.
  • Scale successful pilots – Make sure you get the most return for your effort. Scope out opportunities where you can scale up your impact and look for additional lanes where you can deploy your learnings.
  • Identify new opportunities – Be on the lookout for new challenges to take on. Are there slightly higher-hanging fruit to reach for? What projects have a bit more complexity but could deliver significant return? For ideas, be sure to check out the Green Freight Handbook.

CycleThis is the stage where you really start to leverage the power of EDF’s Virtuous Cycle of Strategic Energy Management. It is a model of change we've discovered that applies to energy performance  including in freight applications – across even radically different organizations with five powerful, interdependent components.

  1. Executive Engagement
  2. Resource Investment
  3. People
  4. Identification, Implementation and Results Measurement and Verification (M&V)
  5. Stories and Sharing

The five components of this machine affect one another, for better or for worse. If the performance of one improves, it often improves the performance of all in a "virtuous cycle" of positive feedback. When all components function at full capacity, the cycle will run smoothly to improve energy performance, maximizing financial and environmental returns.

Join me on January 14 at 12PM ET for a webinar that will introduce you to the full Green Freight Journey framework, review real-world case examples and highlight tools EDF is making available to help companies progress on their journey.

Register here today for this informative webinar.

Steps on the Green Freight Journey:

The Green Freight Journey: Create Momentum

The Green Freight Journey is a five-step framework for freight optimization projects. Leading up to our January 14th webinar, EDF is taking a brief look at each step of the Journey.

Once you have established a Green Freight goal and defined metrics for tracking your progress, it’s time to start putting the wheels in motion. Below are some tips for taking the next step, creating momentum, in your Green Freight Journey:

  • Choose a pilot project – Select pilot projects that can be scaled up and replicated elsewhere in the organization, if successful. See our Green Freight case studies for examples of replicable pilot projects.
  • Focus on what you control – Choose a pilot project where you have direct control over the outcome. Examples here are increasing load factors or moving to intermodal from truckload. Projects that rely on the actions of suppliers, such as alternative fuel use by your contract carrier, are more difficult to execute.
  • Track results – Be sure to capture good data and use the metrics you created in step one. The data you produce will be a powerful tool in communicating the results of your pilot to employees, customers, and key stakeholders. The data will also help you identify new opportunities.

Below is an example from our Green Freight Handbook, which can help you determine which pilot project would be most impactful for your organization.

Green Freight Diagnostic

Join me on January 14 at 12PM ET for a webinar that will introduce you to the full Green Freight Journey framework, review real-world case examples and highlight tools EDF is making available to help companies progress on their journey.

Register here today for this informative webinar.

Steps on the Green Freight Journey:

The Green Freight Journey: Take Your First Step

The Green Freight Journey is a five-step framework for freight optimization projects. Leading up to our January 14th webinar, EDF is taking a brief look at each of the steps along the Journey.

The first step, Getting Started, is about deciding where you want to go. To do this, companies:

  • Gather internal stakeholders  such as supply chain or transportation executives, sustainability officers or EHS professionals, and an executive sponsor.
  • Define their green freight objective  such as reducing climate warming emissions or cutting fossil fuel consumption.
  • Determine key metrics – by reaching each agreement on how to objectively measure progress. A metrics-driven approach helps to keep you focused on the actions that will deliver the biggest results for the best returns.

When determining your metrics, consider these examples from the EDF Green Freight Handbook:

Metrics

Join me on January 14 at 12PM ET for a webinar that will introduce you to the full Green Freight Journey framework, review real-world case examples and highlight tools EDF is making available to help companies progress on their journey.

Register here today for this informative webinar.

Steps on the Green Freight Journey:

Methane Emissions Just Like Oil Spills in the Sky

An inspector uses a FLIR camera to detect methane gas leaks. (Source: FLIR)

An inspector uses a FLIR camera to detect methane gas leaks. (Source: FLIR)

Out of sight, out of mind. This certainly applies to methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.

That’s because methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas and the primary constituent of natural gas, is invisible to the naked eye.

And it’s one reason methane emissions, while a significant threat to our environment, don’t get the attention they should from policymakers or the public when compared to, say, conspicuous oil spills.

But we have the technology to make the invisible visible. As you’ll see in the video below, fugitive methane emissions look very much like an oil spill in the sky.

The footage comes from FLIR, a maker of optical gas imaging cameras and one of the largest companies in the methane mitigation industry.

Read more