Nationwide, industries generate approximately 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions. The vast majority come from energy use, but about 5% are waste gases from industrial processes, like the chemical transformation of raw materials. Here in West Chester, more than half of all greenhouse gas pollution comes from our combined commercial district / industrial sector.

There is consensus among industry leaders nationwide that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not only a smart business decision, but an essential one. For industry, the issue has moved beyond scientific debate, because the market is beginning to force change. Industries that ignore changing market signals, they say, risk being left behind.

Cinergy, a leading diversified energy company, notes 6 "signposts" they say point to this new market driver.

Cinergy Signposts

  1. States are taking action.
  2. An increasing number of U.S. senators are expressing concern about global warming.
  3. The Kyoto Protocol was ratified and became law on February 16, 2005.
  4. A growing number of shareholder groups are asking companies to quantify the risks associated with GHG emissions.
  5. CO2 and GHG emissions trading markets are developing in Europe and the United States.
  6. Global warming is becoming part of our everyday consciousness.
Source: Getting Ahead of the Curve: Corporate Strategies that Reduce Climate Change. Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

Other Market Factors
These factors pointing to the need to reduce greenhouse gas pollution include the following.

Stroke-of-the-Pen Risk

Carbon-limiting legislation is coming, and when it does it can change the value of assets overnight. This is what industry leaders call the "stroke of the pen risk." A full 84% of companies surveyed by the Pew Charitable Trust believe such federal standards will take effect before 2015. Companies that are not prepared for this will face hardship.

Rising Energy Costs
Utility deregulation in 2011 means that electricity prices will rise 30% to 40% overnight, according to PECO. When Delaware utilities deregulated, industrial customers there saw increases in excess of 100% (Source: Petroleum and feedstock prices are also rising. By reducing energy use, we can reduce the impact of these high costs and help protect the bottom line.

Importantly, many industry leaders know that market changes, while challenging, present opportunity. Prudent steps taken now to address climate change and create cleaner, more efficient products that consumers want can improve a company’s competitive position and enable companies to show customers that they are "going green."

(This section adapted from: Getting Ahead of the Curve: Corporate Strategies that Reduce Climate Change, Pew Center on Global Climate Change)

For the full report, go to

Additional source: EPA Climate Change.

What You Can Do
To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, industry can begin by taking the measures listed below.

Improve the Energy Efficiency of your Routine Operations

Unless your warehouses, offices, and other buildings are already built or retro-fitted to high-efficiency standards, there are likely things you can do to reduce utility costs now and save money such as:
  • Improving the efficiency of the building envelope (insulation, windows, roofing) and lighting systems
  • Reducing energy used by computer / IT systems
  • Installing zoned climate controls
  • Reducing water consumption
These things cut CO2 emissions and pay off in lower utility costs. The Environmental Protection Agency offers free online tools for evaluating how and where you can make these kinds of changes. It's called the ENERGY STAR Program for Corporate Real Estate. Their Portfolio Manager tool, in particular, helps you evaluate the energy efficiency of your buildings. They also offer online training sessions, and the entire program is free of charge.

Improve the Efficiency of Production Processes
Since energy use and production often go hand in hand, you may be concerned that reducing energy consumption in the production process will make productivity suffer. This is not necessarily so, however, because energy efficiency actually boosts productivity. An expert audit can show you how to improve the efficiency of your production processes, while increasing productivity and reducing pollution:
  • The University of Delaware Industrial Assessment Center provides energy, waste, and productivity assessments at no charge to small and mid-sized manufacturers in the mid-Atlantic region as part of a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. On average, they save manufacturers $55,000 a year. Access the flyer for more information (PDF).
  • The Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program also offers free assessment tools and training for industrial operations.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy also offers tremendous tools for industries, including the "Quick Plant Energy Profiler," an online software tool that helps industrial plant personnel quickly understand how energy is being used at their plant and how you might save energy and money. In addition, the department also offers "Best Practices" publications that keep you abreast of emerging technologies, like those that can help you recover waste heat from your steam system, gauge the market potential of efficient motors, and much more.
Visit the USDOE website for more information.

Convert to Cleaner, Alternative Energy Sources
You can buy wind power in blocks of kilowatt-hours. Doing so increases demand for better, cleaner, and renewable energy sources and sends a clear signal to the utilities. For more information on wind power, see these websites:
And if you’re building a new facility, consider geothermal energy. Users, including Radnor School District, have information to show that geothermal energy pays off.

Access a testimonial: Leo Bernabei, Facilities Director, Radnor Township School District