Typical Sustainable Supply Chain Scorecard Energy Questions
Scorecard Questions
  1. Does your organization comply with regulations regarding use of energy resources?
  2. Does your organization take measures to reduce energy consumption?
  3. Are reductions achieved?
  4. Does your organization monitor and record its energy consumption? Are reduction targets developed and are they achieved?
  5. Does your organization provide information and train employees to implement energy reduction measures?
  6. Does your organization employ initiatives to provide energy-efficient or renewable energy-based products?
  7. Has your organization initiated practical activities to reduce energy consumption?
  8. Which of the following systems have you implemented energy conservation/efficiency measures for your corporate facilities (if your organization has selected ‘other’, please describe)?
    1. Equipment: Energy Star Appliances / Automatic Sleep Modes / After-Hour Timers / etc.
    2. Lighting: Natural Light / CF Bulbs / Occupancy Sensors / Daylight Dimmers / Task Lighting / etc.
    3. HVAC: Programmable Thermostat / Timers / Occupancy Sensors / Shade Sun-Exposes Walls / Double-Paned Windows / etc.
    4. Other
  9. Does your organization have a climate strategy that identifies opportunities to reduce the organization’s energy consumption?
  10. What is your direct energy consumption by your primary energy source?
    1. Total direct energy consumption = direct primary energy purchased + direct primary energy produced – direct primary energy sold
  11. What is your indirect energy consumption by your primary source?
  12. How much energy is saved due to conservation and efficiency improvement?
  13. What % of energy (relative to organization revenues) was saved in the last year for your corporate facilities?
  14. What is your organization’s energy intensity?
    1. (energy consumed in production processes + energy consumed in overhead) / normalization factor = MJ/normalization factor
  15. What is your organization’s total energy use from renewable resources (kWh)?
  16. What is your organization’s renewable portion of energy consumed?
    1. Renewable energy consumed / total energy consumed X 100 = %
  17. Has your organization increased its % use of renewable energy annually at its corporate facilities?
  18. What % of energy used is from renewable on-site energy production for corporate facilities?
Energy Indicators & Measurement

In order to answer to these scorecard requests or inquiries, a company needs to identify which indicators are going to reveal the answers to these questions and then help to identify a management strategy with established goals and targets for reduction.  Below are typical energy operational performance indicators and methods for measuring energy consumption and use.

Typical Energy Operational Performance Indicators [1]
  • Quantity of energy used per year, quarter or month
  • Quantity of energy used per unit of production
  • Quantity of energy used per service or customer
  • Quantity of each type of energy used
  • Quantity or percentage of onsite renewable energy generated
  • Quantity or percentage of energy from renewable sources
  • Quantity of energy units saved by energy conservation initiatives
Measuring Energy Use of Individual Processes

Simply knowing the total energy consumption of your entire facility isn’t enough for identifying energy improvement opportunities.  Quantifying the energy consumption of each process and system will enable you to analyze, identify and prioritize areas of improvement. You’ll gain the highest energy savings by focusing your efforts on your largest energy usages. Third-party performance ratings and manufacturers’ specifications provide enough information for estimating your energy usages, but these figures can vary significantly from your equipment’s actual energy consumption when accounting for operating conditions, wear of components, and maintenance issues. Submetering your facility’s processes provides the most accurate information for determining actual usages. Submeters that monitor and provide real time energy consumptions enable you to make immediate changes to reduce or eliminate energy usages before being subjected to their costs and unnecessary use of natural resources. [2]

Direct Energy Consumption by Primary Energy Source

The GRI’s G3.1 Indicator Protocols Set: Environment recommends that organizations report their direct energy consumption by their primary energy source in their indicator EN3. [3]

Energy Intensity

Even though the energy intensity of production processes worldwide is continually improving, our increasing volume of production is driving levels of energy consumption even greater. [4] However, many organizations have successfully continued to grow their production processes while improving their energy intensity in a way that maintains or decreases their total energy consumption. For an organization to accurately assess their energy management, they need to account for both total energy consumption and energy intensity. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) provides indicators for calculating your organization’s energy intensity.

Your organization’s energy intensity should include the energy consumed in production processes and overhead activities. The margins of this formula may be extended or reduced for measuring and monitoring a broader range of activities or specific activities explicitly.

Renewable Proportion of Energy Consumption

Minimizing your organization’s dependence on fossil fuels and release of GHGs through energy efficiency improvements is great, but these actions have limitations. To go beyond those limitations, your organization’s energy demands need to be met by renewable energy sources. Some current sources of renewable energy include hydro, solar, tidal and wind power. The technology of renewable energy is rapidly changing in a way that is shrinking the pay-back period of such investments. [5] Meanwhile traditional energy sources are becoming more expensive due to their dwindling supplies and the increasing energy demands of mankind. OECD provides an indicator for calculating your organization’s renewable proportion of energy consumed.

Renewable sources of energy also have related environmental impacts, but in general they contribute far less to climate change and are much more sustainable than nonrenewable energy sources. Each organization has different opportunities to increase the renewable proportion of energy consumption depending on their region, utility supplier and other factors. Facility installations like small-scale solar and wind power technologies are great, but an organization should optimize their energy efficiencies first because such improvements are much less expensive.

Energy Audits & Assessments

Your organization’s total energy use and break down of energy-using processes is not enough to effectively manage energy consumption. The organization needs to periodically audit and assess the efficiencies of their equipment, operations, and systems to attain improvements in performance. Energy assessments are typically performed to understand how energy is used within your facility, whereas energy audits aim to measure the energy use of your facility’s individual processes.

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Energy audits and assessments should be conducted by personnel with energy expertise and background knowledge of the facility’s energy using equipment, procedures, and systems. Auditors and assessors should be comparing actual performances of these components against designed performances, which will identify potential energy savings. They should also consult with process operators and managers to gain their perspective and thoughts about energy management mechanisms. These initiatives will likely vary in depth and focus, so try to establish minimum criteria in your process documentation and prioritize components base of their energy significance.

Energy Improvements and Implementation
Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Equipment

(RESOURCE: “Energy Efficiency Toolkit For Manufacturers – Eight Proven Ways to Reduce Your Costs”, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM))

Maximize motor efficiencies – The machinery and equipment of many manufacturing organizations is powered by obsolete, inefficient motors. Replacing them with more energy-efficient motors is an effective means of lowering your operating costs. Upgrade the motors in your facility within the limitations of your capital cost and the payback period. The key to sustaining motor efficiencies is regular maintenance. Identifying and addressing motor issues before a breakdown occurs is cheaper than addressing a motor failure. In the chance that you do have a motor failure, know ahead of time where high-efficiency replacement motors may be found to minimize down time.

Lighten your lighting energy – The energy consumption of lighting fixtures is often overlooked because they don’t consume a lot of energy in respect to other energy-consumptive processes. However, taking into account the amount of time that lighting fixtures are on as opposed to other processes reveals a big opportunity for energy savings. Installing high-efficiency lighting systems and utilizing natural light improves lighting quality while lowering energy consumption.

Higher your HVAC efficiency - Heating, ventilating and cooling (HVAC) systems more than a decade old are easily beat by today’s higher-efficiency HVAC equipment. More computer control options with newer technology makes these upgrades cost-effective and easier to achieve energy savings. Reduce your facility’s HVAC energy usage by lowering output on weekends, over night, and when natural conditions allow.

Improve your compressed air systems – Most industrial operations use some form of compressed air either for hand air tools, pneumatic controls, or somewhere in-between these two extremes. Compressed air is nearly always generated onsite and can account for one of a facility’s highest energy demands with energy efficiencies as low as 10-15%. [6] Improve the efficiency of your compressed air systems by ensuring proper installation, identifying leaks, isolating systems when not in use, filtering out water and solid particles, employing air conserving practices, and avoiding over pressurization as well as pressure drops. [7]

Procuring Green Power

The term “green power” is used to express multiple concepts, but in the broadest sense it refers to environmentally preferable energy and energy technologies. [8] Numerous energy utility providers allow their customers to purchase a percentage of their electricity from renewable energy sources. In New York there are over twenty enrollment programs provided by various utility providers according to the EPA’s Green Power Network (www.epa.gov/greenpower). These providers’ sources of renewable energy include wind, biomass, and hydro. Other renewable resources that may be available to New York organizations but are found nationwide include geothermal, solar, low-impact hydro, and biogas.

The price of power generated from fossil fuels is continuously variable and increasing since it is effected by fuel prices. However green power doesn’t come with such variability and technologies are continually making it more cost-efficient to invest in such energy resources. The obvious environmental benefits of green power procurement include less pollution, no increasing emissions of greenhouse gases, and protecting human and environmental health. It’s imperative that organizations also recognize the financial benefits of green power. Purchasing energy for renewable sources ensures stable utility costs, rather than being subject to the variations of fuel costs. Green power sources also don’t endure fuel supply disruptions as nonrenewable sources do. There’s also the benefit of less compliance concerns with environmental regulations. Currently, governing entities worldwide are addressing global climate change and regional air quality concerns by increasing the price of traditional electricity resources. Procuring green energy also adds credibility to an organization by attaining environmental objectives, demonstrating social leadership, and stirring good publicity. Not only does it improve employee morale, it can create jobs while securing current employment. In the market this action may be able to distinguish your organization’s products and services from competitors, while becoming a preferable partner in green supply chains.

Below are general steps to purchasing green power provided in a publication produced in a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Energy, the EPA Green Power Partnership, the World Resources Institute, and the Center for Resource Solutions. [9]

Set goals – Before an organization procures green power they should identify what green power options will attain their environmental targets while meeting their energy demands. Set goals for your organization while considering why you’re seeking green power, what are the most important criteria, and which certification and verification processes you may want to incorporate.

Identify key decision-makers – Figure out who in your organization has the knowledge and expertise to provide good input for the decision-making process, in regard to resource purchasing, energy management, environmental compliance, and marketing aspects. Their input in the planning stage can lead to large rewards later on.

Gather energy data – When determining how your organization may benefit from green power procurement, the people involved should be familiar with your organization’s energy use, energy sources and their environmental aspects. Gather data to build such an understanding, which may include energy inventories, energy efficiencies, load management, and compiling an energy portfolio.

Choose green power options – Different green power options come with different criteria in regard to environmental, financial and market positioning. Decide initially whether to generate power on-site or to purchase green power from utility providers, if not both. Develop financial approaches to overcome capital costs of converting your energy procurement means. Every region has different green power options available in the local energy market, so figure out the ones available and determine which are the most practical for your organization.

Evaluating the purchase – After an organization has procured green power resources, evaluate how well it is working for you against what you anticipated. Is your organization taking actions to benefit from your green power procurement? What objectives have you accomplished or narrowed the gap to accomplishing? With on-site generation, evaluate the associated processes to get the most out of your efforts.

Onsite Renewable Generation

Rather than purchasing renewable energy from a utility provider, or perhaps in addition to, an organization may get the most benefits from installing their own renewable energy generation technology. On-site renewable generation is more reliable than energy from a provider, produces better power quality, and protects against price instability. Some on-site renewable energy technologies for generating green power include photovoltaic panels (solar), wind turbines, fuel cells and biomass combustion. [10]  Some popular options are described below but technology continues to improve so it is important to do your research to determine the current options.

Solar – Photovoltaic systems can be configured to nearly any size from only a few kilowatts up to several megawatts. As such, they can be installed onto various buildings or as standalone structures. Integrating this technology into building designs can displace material costs such as roofing or parking lot shading.

Wind – Small wind turbines can provide 100 KW or less whereas large ones range from 500 KW to more than 3 MW. Because of their nature, wind turbines are usually most practical in nonurban environments since they often require zoning permits. Wind turbine installations typically need about 1 acre of land per turbine and wind speeds the average at least 15 mph 150 feet above the ground. [11] Wind turbine performances can be affected from nearby buildings, which is another reason they’re not generally suitable for urban environments.

Methane gas capturing – Methane gas released from landfills, sewage treatment plants, and manure or agricultural waste digesters can be in large enough concentrations to be a viable source of generating energy. Once captured, it may be used as fuel for an internal combustion engine, gas turbine, boiler and/or other power conversion technologies. Common methane gas implementations produced between 0.5 to 4 MW of electrical energy.

Biomass combustion – Biomass combustion is essentially the process of generating electricity through burning plant material in a boiler to drive a steam turbine. Plant material often consists of agricultural or foresting wastes. This activity may produce both heat and energy for a facility. This technology is most suitable for organizations with a large resource of biomass and a significant need for heat.

Fuel cells – Fuel cells are not considered a renewable resource unless they operate exclusively on a renewably generated fuel. However, they typically meet that measure by using digester gas or hydrogen resulting from photovoltaic or wind turbine processes. They are more efficient than other forms of generation and basically release no air pollutants.

Biodigester – A biodigester, or anaerobic digester, is simply an airtight chamber that allows organic matter to succumb to a biological process in which bacteria breaks it down in the absence of oxygen. [12] This process generates a gaseous mix of methane and carbon dioxide known as biogas, as well as animal bedding and fertilizer. The biogas may be used as fuel for energy generation, serving as an onsite renewable energy source. However, organizations should recognize that this process also reduces GHG emissions as well as organic wastewater streams and waste streams since it consumes manure, biosolids, food waste, agricultural waste, and other organic matter.

Monitoring and Controlling Energy Use

Energy monitoring practices at the facility level should be from the perspective of overall consumption processes. This includes the facility’s manufacturing processes, their supporting energy sources, and the environmental impacts related to those sources. Comprehensive monitoring includes periodically measuring, documenting and reporting key energy flows as well as identifying energy savings. An energy flowchart and energy balance should be continually updated, if not using real-time data already. Progress towards attaining energy performance targets should be designed through action plans and measured against them. However, these targets should be updated if your facility’s energy consumption patterns change significantly. Identify energy improvement opportunities by comparing monitoring data against different operational factors, such as shifts, maintenance practices, operators and procedures. Confirm that targets are appropriate by comparing your monitoring data with benchmark data.