Seaira Christian-Daniels October 23, 2013
On Friday, September 27, 2013, Ohio University Voinovich School's CE3 hosted "A Workshop for Efficiency, Emissions, and Energy Choices in Ohio," to help small, medium, and large businesses achieve their energy cost-savings and emissions goals. The workshop in Columbus, Ohio convened nearly 100 businesses leaders, and was funded in part by a U.S. EPA grant that allows CE3 to provide educational programming to stakeholders in Ohio about compliance with the EPA's Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program.
Keynote speaker Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) spoke about energy efficiency from both a federal and state policy perspective. Though government budgetary issues caused the Senator to deliver his remarks via Skype from Washington, D.C., he addressed energy independence and the viability of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act. The bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), if passed will bring industrial competitiveness and energy security to Ohio and the nation. The Senator says that this bill will make it less expensive for American companies to secure an energy future and decrease American dependence on foreign energy sources. The Senator discussed his "all of the above energy policy" which includes producing more energy and being more efficient. The two, he said, are symbiotic. "Good energy policy can be good economic policy as well," he said.
The workshop had two tracks and featured two corporate perspectives of energy efficiency: efficiency and emissions and shale and natural gas. Before the morning breakout sessions, Frank O'Brien-Bernini, chief sustainability officer of Owens Corning, gave a dynamic presentation detailing how companies can save money by being more energy efficient. For example, through Owens Corning's roof shingle recycling program, they were able to recycle 500,000 tons of roofing materials and save participating contractors about $10 million in 2012. To view more of this presentation, click here.
For a second corporate perspective, Karen Heyob, facilities department manager for Honda of North America, LLC, discussed how Honda has continued to improve its vehicles and manufacturing processes by incorporating technologies such as its earth dreams technology system, which is used in the Honda Accord Hybrid. The earth dreams technology system gives Honda engines more acceleration power while lowering their fuel emissions; engines with the Honda earth dreams technology are more efficient and lightweight.
One of the achievements of which Honda is most proud is improving the energy efficiency of their painting technology. Innovations in production and post-production technology have made Honda is one of the greenest automobile manufacturers in the world. Check out a video of Honda's new painting technology here. To view more of Heyob's presentation, click here.
Additional expert speakers addressed energy efficiency projects and strategies throughout the day. For example, many people are familiar with the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, but Mike Dombrowski, an energy efficiency manager at Glatfelter, discussed the Pew Center on Global Climate Change's seven habits of energy efficient companies. They include the following:
1. Having efficiency as a core strategy
2. Having support from leadership within the organization
3. Making SMART energy goals
4. Tracking and measuring those goals
5. Putting substantial resources into energy efficiency
6. Showing results
7. Communicating those results
Glatfelter uses the Pew Center's seven habits to accomplish the company vision illustrated with the "Glatfelter Compass." The Glatfelter compass lists the values that guide Glatfelter's business practices including integrity, financial discipline, mutual respect, customer focus, environmental responsibility, and social responsibility.
Eaton Corporation's Public Affairs Officer Christopher Hess discussed how Eaton Corporation built its sustainability policy a different way using five principles, or "pillars," to support the environment. Here are a few of his main points outlining their corporate energy strategy:
1. Increasing shareholder value
2. Improving the natural environment
3. Expanding transparency
4. Fostering a thriving workplace
5. Building strong communities
Together, he said, those pillars foster a responsible use of resources. Find his full presentation here.
Following on the theme of utilizing Ohio's natural gas raised in Senator Portman's speech, panelists Tom Stewart, executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, Jenn Klein, president of the Ohio Chemistry Technology Council, and Tom Mahlberg, technical manager for Kraton Polymers U.S., LLC, all discussed ways in which shale and natural gas can increase Ohio manufacturing. In their afternoon panel entitled "How Natural Gas is Changing Ohio Manufacturing," moderator Christiane Schmenk, former director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, set the stage by presenting statistics about the number of Ohio manufacturing employees that have benefitted from increased development of natural gas. Stewart then discussed the Appalachian Basin Oil Well and the economic boundaries to using shale. Klein concluded by discussing a common thread in the production of natural gas: the related chemical industry benefits. By thoughtfully addressing both energy efficiency and shale energy in a single workshop, Ohio businesses were witness to the many energy opportunities that exist for the Ohio industry.
To close the workshop, attendees gathered in a final plenary session to participate in a discussion about energy financing techniques with panelists John Molinaro of the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth, Chadwick Smith of the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority, and Nicole Stika of the Coalition of Smaller Enterprises (COSE). Reinforcing the presentations of companies throughout the day, energy efficiency does not have to come at the expense of a company's profit margin. In fact, energy efficiency practices can provide numerous cost saving benefits for businesses in Ohio through a variety of best practices and implementation mechanisms.
As CE3 Director Scott Miller said in closing, "Developing a diverse portfolio of energy in an environmentally-responsible way demonstrates the power and ingenuity of Ohio businesses." Equipped with insight from colleagues and fellow stakeholders, workshop participants were able to return to their businesses with tangible examples of how energy-responsible practices can foster a more competitive company and help sustain a cleaner environment.
To learn more about CE3's projects, and to view the presentations from workshop speakers, please visit www.ohio.edu/ce3/ghgrp.