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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star program has helped improve the energy efficiency of the auto manufacturing industry, which has cut fossil fuel use by 12 percent and reduced greenhouse gases by more than 700,000 tons of carbon dioxide, according to a recent report by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. The emissions reductions equal the emissions from the electricity use of more than 80,000 homes for a year.
The report, “Assessing Improvement in the Energy Efficiency of U.S. Auto Assembly Plants,” affirms the EPA’s energy management strategy, particularly the importance of performance measurement and recognition for top performance. The report also demonstrates that the gap between top-performing plants and others has closed and the performance of the industry as a whole has improved.
Central to this energy management approach is the Energy Star Energy Performance Indicator (EPI) for auto assembly plants, which enables industry to benchmark plant energy performance against peers and over time. Energy Star EPIs exist or are under development for more than 20 other industries. Across these industries, the EPA has recognized nearly 60 manufacturing plants with the Energy Star label, representing savings of more than $500 million and more than 6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually.
The U.S. industrial sector accounts for more than 30 percent of energy use in the United States. If the energy efficiency of industrial facilities improved by 10 percent, the EPA estimates that Americans would save nearly $20 billion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to the emissions from the electricity use of more than 22 million homes for a year. Hundreds of industrial companies across more than a dozen manufacturing industries are working with the EPA’s Energy Star program to develop strong energy-management programs, earn the Energy Star for their plants, and achieve breakthrough improvements in energy efficiency.