Energy efficiency is a great way to save money, energy and the environment, but it is an under-utilized strategy, according to an article in the New York Times.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters makes a lot of money selling individual servings of ground coffee in white cups that are churned out by the millions from a hissing, clanking production line here. But it recently found a way to generate even greater profits from the operation that will require only a modest investment.
Companies seek economies of scale in alternative energy.
Spending $150 to $200 to install a more efficient blower to cool the laser that carves the date and batch number into each passing cup will cut Green Mountain’s annual electricity bill for each laser by about $200, says Paul Comey, its vice president for environmental affairs. That might not seem like much, except that the company has 40 such lasers, which it plans to upgrade this week.
Green Mountain Coffee was persuaded to undertake such improvements in efficiency through an unusual effort by the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, which is under contract with the state to find thousands of such energy savings.
Opportunities like this abound in the commercial and industrial sectors, requiring no new research or technology. But few places are doing an effective job of finding them, experts say.
“When we started talking about this in 1990s in terms of energy efficiency versus coal energy, we were talking 4 cents a kilowatt-hour for coal, and 4 cents for energy efficiency,” said R. Neal Elliott, the industrial program director at the council. “Today we’re talking optimistically, without carbon taxes, 10 cents for coal. With carbon taxes, we may be talking 20 cents for coal.”
“And energy efficiency,” he said, “is still 4 cents or less.”
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.