A Duke University study prepared for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that the cement industry reduced its energy intensity by 13% during the 10-year study period, averaging more than 1% per year of improvements, a significant achievement. These energy savings equate to a reduction of almost 1.5 million metric tons of energy-related carbon.
The study examined data collected from the industry and the Department of Commerce for the period of 1997-2007. It showed the gap between top-performing cement plants and others narrowed and the performance of the industry as a whole improved.
“The decade studied by Duke was one of unprecedented growth for the cement industry, yet PCA members demonstrated their commitment to environmental stewardship by building sound strategies for energy management and investing in their facilities with state-of-the-art technologies that significantly improved the industry’s energy efficiency and reduced emissions,” said Brian McCarthy, Portland Cement Association (PCA) CEO and president.
“The U.S. cement industry was among the first major industries to tackle the issue of climate change, and this study illustrates that it has remained at the forefront of developing policies and improving the manufacturing process,” he continued.
The study was commissioned by the EPA to measure the change in the cement industry’s energy-efficiency curve. The energy-management approach promoted by the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, that of benchmarking plant energy performance against peers over time and certifying plants for top performance, was an important factor in enabling the industry to shift its energy performance.
The Energy Performance Indicator (EPI) scores the energy efficiency of a single cement plant and allows the plant to compare its performance to that of the entire industry. The tool is intended to help cement-plant operators identify opportunities to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, conserve conventional energy supplies and reduce production costs.