Creation of a Data-Driven Resource and Waste Assessment Methodology, 10-R9785

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Principal Investigators
Crystal A. Parrott
Carl B. Allsup

Inclusive Dates:  02/04/08 – 06/04/08

Background - Escalation of energy costs and allied issues regarding climate change and sustainability have become visible concerns for SwRI clients. The need for an integrated process and information system to address energy management and, more generally, environmental and sustainability issues are emerging. The purpose of this project was to develop a comprehensive methodology by integrating and advancing a variety of tools, procedures, and data into an information management and decision-making tool tailored to addressing energy management issues. Although many processes currently exist for assessment of energy, there is relatively little correlation or integration of process improvement cost data to support the prioritization of energy and waste reduction expenditures. Specifically, the Department of Energy (DoE) has a database that captures energy improvement tasks completed over the past several years, with information relating cost and expected return; however, it is not used in any formal resource or waste assessment methodology. Our objective was to incorporate usable process implementation data obtained from exiting DoE project information into a new methodology that will provide an effective and quantifiable means for identifying and justifying potential actions.

Approach - The key to the successful development of a comprehensive system was to identify usable tools that could port to energy conservation initiatives and to develop the areas that are lacking in the data and the analysis tools. Processes from available lean six-sigma, quality management, value management and information technology tools, as well as available energy assessment and conservation methods were benchmarked. A comprehensive review of the available cost data as documented by the DOE was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of process correlation with the existing data. SwRI has combined existing practices related to lean manufacturing, energy efficiency, and pollution prevention to provide an integrated opportunity assessment for clients seeking assistance in one or more of these project areas. SwRI is able to provide assistance through plant-level analysis of material, energy and by-product flows, and to provide system specific assistance on certain common equipment types, such as combustion, process heating, lighting, electrical, and pumping systems.

Accomplishments - SwRI has been able to put into practice the developed methodology for one of its clients, and soon will be providing pollution prevention and energy efficiency assessments in cooperation with regional utility companies through the Environmental Protection Agency's Green Suppliers Network program.

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