Energy Efficiency

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 105–116 | Cite as

Measuring improvement in energy efficiency of the US cement industry with the ENERGY STAR Energy Performance Indicator

Original Article


The lack of a system for benchmarking industrial plant energy efficiency represents a major obstacle to improving efficiency. While estimates are sometimes available for specific technologies, the efficiency of one plant versus another could only be captured by benchmarking the energy efficiency of the whole plant and not by looking at its components. This paper presents an approach used by ENERGY STAR to implement manufacturing plant energy benchmarking for the cement industry. Using plant-level data and statistical analysis, we control for factors that influence energy use that are not efficiency, per se. What remains is an estimate of the distribution of energy use that is not accounted for by these factors, i.e., intra-plant energy efficiency. By comparing two separate analyses conducted at different points in time, we can see how this distribution has changed. While aggregate data can be used to estimate an average rate of improvement in terms of total industry energy use and production, such an estimate would be misleading as it may give the impression that all plants have made the same improvements. The picture that emerges from our plant-level statistical analysis is more subtle; the most energy-intensive plants have closed or been completely replaced and poor performing plants have made efficiency gains, reducing the gap between themselves and the top performers, whom have changed only slightly. Our estimate is a 13 % change in total source energy, equivalent to an annual reduction of 5.4 billion/kg of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.


Industrial energy efficiency Benchmarking Energy management 



This paper was prepared for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air and Radiation, Office of Atmospheric Programs, Climate Protection Partnership Division. We would like to thank the Portland Cement Association and particularly David Czechowski, which provided the plant-level data from their annual Labor and Energy Survey, under a nondisclosure agreement with Duke University. The research results have been screened to insure that no confidential data are revealed. We would like to thank all the energy managers from companies participating in the ENERGY STAR Cement Industry Focus for their willingness to test and provide comments on earlier versions of the analysis. This process was invaluable to producing a useful tool. The paper has benefited from helpful comments from Josh Smith (ICF International), Walt Tunnessen (U.S. EPA), Elizabeth Dutrow (U.S. EPA), and one anonymous referee. Any errors or omissions remain the responsibility of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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