Environmental Initiatives

Media Inquiries

If you are a journalist and would like additional information, please visit the Media Contacts page.

Media Contacts

Subscribe to News Feeds

Pew offers news delivered to your desktop via RSS feed. Subscribing is easy. To learn more or get started, follow the link below.

Subscribe to News Feeds

For The Record

When Pew’s work is questioned or criticized we respond through letters to the editor or op-eds.

Read Pew's Responses

Keeping the Lights On: Industrial Energy Efficiency

Fact Sheet
Harrah’s Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino
Harrah’s Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino installed the first CHP system on the Las Vegas Strip in 2004. It now generates 40 percent of the electricity, 60 percent of the hot water, and 65 percent of the heat needed by the hotel-casino.

Each year, America’s utilities and factories send enough heat up their chimneys to power all of Japan. But with existing, proven technologies, we can harness that waste energy, dramatically cut electricity costs, and make our industries more competitive.

According to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, significantly increasing our industrial energy efficiency could create up to 1 million jobs. Further, improving the efficiency of our power generation could result in more than $200 billion in private investment over 10 years, according to a study by the Industrial Energy Consumers of America, an organization that represents many of the country’s largest manufacturers.

Improving Reliability and Performance: The 2003 Northeast Blackout

Companies save money and secure a highly reliable power source when waste-heat CHP systems are deployed. These energy efficiency technologies can ensure the lights stay on, even in the face of a catastrophic blackout. On Aug. 14, 2003, large portions of the Northeast and Midwest lost power.

An estimated 50 million people were left without electricity for approximately four days. Without power, many manufacturers and other businesses were unable to maintain operations, leading to idle factories and lost sales. Government estimates place the blackout’s impact on the U.S. economy at $4 billion to $10 billion. However, many of the affected region’s 491 facilities and factories with CHP were able to continue operations without access to electricity from the commercial grid. Although some lost power for a few minutes or hours, many came back online quickly and were able to operate normally through the rest of the blackout.

What Is Industrial Energy Efficiency?

Industrial energy efficiency uses waste heat left over from regular industrial processes to generate additional electricity or to heat or cool nearby buildings. This can be accomplished using a suite of time-tested technologies such as combined heat and power (CHP), waste heat recovery, district energy, and thermal storage systems. In fact, America’s first commercial power plant, opened in 1882, used the excess steam generated from producing electricity to heat neighboring buildings.

With rising energy prices affecting companies large and small, using waste heat and recycling their energy can reduce costs and give businesses the flexibility to invest the savings elsewhere. For example, Lorin Industries in Michigan has recycled its waste heat since 1943 and added capacity in 1990. The system saves the company $540,000 per year, and the newest addition paid for itself in just four years, largely due to the significant decrease in the company’s need to purchase electricity during more costly peak hours.

Entenmann’s Bakery in Bay Shore, N.Y., has a CHP system that uses four natural gas-burning reciprocating engines to produce 5.1 megawatts (MW) of electric power. The bakery initially installed the system because of substantial losses associated with power outages at food processing plants. In normal operations, the system supplies the daily base-load power, and Entenmann’s sells the excess electricity back to the local utility. During the 2003 blackout, Bay Shore was heavily affected, yet Entenmann’s Bakery stayed fully operational.

Improving Reliability and Performance: Hurricane Katrina, 2005

Industrial energy efficiency systems can also support lifesaving systems and operations. Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, Miss., is a 646-bed urban hospital with 3,000 employees. It has a 4.3-MW natural gas CHP system, installed in 1994, that allowed the hospital to stay open during Hurricane Katrina. It was the only hospital in the Jackson area to be 100 percent operational during the storm and its immediate aftermath, which allowed it to treat a large number of people and provide food and housing for displaced patients. Under normal circumstances, the CHP system meets almost all of the hospital’s electricity needs and more than half of its chilled water needs, which has led to an estimated cost savings of $738,000 annually.

Fact Sheet File: Industrial Energy Efficiency (PDF)


Related News and Resources

  • U.S. Marines Take Lead in Deploying Clean Energy

    • Other Resource
    • Apr 21, 2014
    The Department of Defense is a leader in deploying clean energy and has a goal to install 3 gigawatts of renewable power by 2025—enough to power 750,000 homes. As we celebrate Earth Day, April 22, there are hundreds of success stories of how our environment has improved since 1970.


  • The Turning Point for Clean Energy

    • Other Resource
    • Apr 17, 2014
    After two years of declining investment in clean energy, the mood might have been somber at Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s annual summit in New York, April 7-9. But the keynote addresses and panel discussions were filled with optimism.


  • China.org.cn: China Remains Leading Destination for Clean Energy Investment

    • Media Coverage
    • Apr 04, 2014
    China remains the leading destination for clean energy investment in 2013 as global investment kept declining in 2013, according to a report released on Thursday.


  • Bloomberg: Clean-Energy Investment Rises in 3 Countries Amid Global Decline

    • Media Coverage
    • Apr 03, 2014
    Three G-20 nations saw an increase in clean-energy investments last year even as funding declined globally for the second consecutive year, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts.


  • Pew Report Finds That Global Clean Energy Investment Declined in 2013

    • Press Release
    • Apr 02, 2014
    Global clean energy investment fell 11 percent to $254 billion, and renewable power generating capacity additions declined by 1 percent in 2013, according to research released today by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The report, Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2013 Edition, finds that among the world's top industrialized economies, known as the Group of 20, or G-20, China remains the leading destination for investors.


  • Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2013

    • Report
    • Apr 01, 2014
    For the past five years, Pew has tracked investment and finance trends in the world’s leading economies. Over that period, the clean energy industry has been buffeted by a global recession, broad changes in energy markets, and uncertainty surrounding international policies on clean energy and climate change. Despite these challenges, the clean energy sector is now an annual $250 billion component of the world economy.


  • Liquid Inspiration: ARPA-E Grantee Attracts Private Investment

    • Video
    • Mar 31, 2014
    Founded on the MIT campus, Ambri is developing a liquid battery to commercialize a viable electricity storage product. David Bradwell, chief technology officer and co-founder, and Phil Giudice, CEO, discuss how this innovation could revolutionize energy distribution and the importance of federal and private investment.


  • Pew Webinar: Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race?

    • Event
    • Mar 27, 2014
    On Thursday, April 3, at 11 a.m. EDT, The Pew Charitable Trusts will release its report Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2013 Edition.


Sign In

Member Sign In

Forgot Password?
Submit Not a Member? Join!

Forgot Password?

Send Password Not a Member? Join!

Change Password

(All Fields are required)
Send Message
Share this on: