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Industrial energy conservation (IAC) is the practice of designing and running businesses with the intention of being as energy efficient and environmentally conscious as possible. While IAC aids the environment as a result of reduced toxic emissions and energy consumption, it also benefits individual companies in terms of energy savings and cost reduction. The process involves modifying or purchasing energy efficient heating, cooling, lighting and fuel equipment and using energy recovery systems.
The process and governance of industrial energy conservation is overseen by the Office of Industrial Technology under the United States department for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Funding is provided to companies to help them establish and maintain energy efficient businesses, with the focus being on small- to medium-sized industrial companies. The incentive for the government to fund IAC programs stems from the need for energy security and the fact that industries are responsible for a large percentage of the country's energy usage. Many businesses have been reluctant to make energy efficiency a priority, so the goal of the Industrial Technologies Program is to keep American businesses as competitive as possible in the global marketplace. Keeping manufacturing costs lower will help to ensure that fewer products are created overseas, an issue that has a dramatic impact on the United States economy.
The primary attraction of industrial energy conservation for almost all businesses is financial. Running efficient heating and cooling systems can save companies more than a quarter on their annual energy bills. In addition, more and more consumers are becoming environmentally conscious and demanding that the products they buy are produced efficiently, with minimal impact on the environment. Companies that support conservation and energy reduction often report an increase in their consumer base as a result.
Transforming an industrial company into an energy efficient model cannot happen overnight and can be a daunting task for many company owners. Fortunately, there are numerous conservation courses and training seminars available to help with all aspects of industrial energy conservation. There are many standalone businesses that also exist to make the process easier. Such companies will provide energy assessments, determine the areas where improvements could be made, and recommend equipment and strategies to implement change. They may also be able to help a company secure federal or local grants to offset some of the initial costs of implementing energy efficient equipment.