Volume 12, Issue 5 - June 2011

Energy and Environmental News

Company News
Why Gorell is Saving Energy Now
As a dealer or distributor, do you want to pay for the waste produced by your supplier—in this case a door or window manufacturer? Brian Zimmerman, president and chief operating officer of Gorell Windows and Doors, says you shouldn’t have to.

Zimmerman recently signed his company on as a participant in the “Save Energy Now LEADER” program, part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

As a LEADER, Gorell has pledged to reduce the company’s energy intensity—and associated carbon emissions—by at least 25 percent over the next ten years. The company also agreed to establish energy use and energy intensity baselines, and to develop an energy management plan over the next 12 months. Gorell now will report its energy intensity, energy use data and achievements annually to the DOE. It is one of only 105 companies in the country that has taken this sustainability pledge.

“We have always tried to be green from the manufacturing to packaging to how we produce our products,” says Zimmerman.
The program was a perfect fit for Gorell and Zimmerman says that it also ties into the lean manufacturing program the company already has in place.

“We are focused on removing non value-added waste,” he says. “Customers don’t want to pay for something that doesn’t add value. They don’t want to pay for energy consumption.”

Gorell has announced its participation in the DOE program to its dealers and Zimmerman says they are pleased.

“They know it will result in a smaller price increases or no price increase at all,” he says.

Gorell made the commitment to the program late last year. It currently is developing its baseline data so it can monitor its energy consumption live in real time. A representative from the DOE helped the company install software that will establish baselines, and also will help employees install tools to measure energy consumption.

“When you see how much energy you use, you realize how many opportunities there are for savings,” says Zimmerman. “The more you keep digging the more things you find.”

He adds that employee participation is crucial and that many have already started pointing out areas in which they can save.

“An employee pointed out that all our vending machines have backlighting,” says Zimmerman. “We pay for that so we had all our vending machine companies come in and take that out. It’s the little things that add up.”

The current energy audit also is changing the way the company looks at future equipment purchases.

“We used to just look at the function of the machine [i.e., cycle time] but now we will look at how much energy that machine will produce,” says Zimmerman.

Gorell already placed an emphasis on energy efficiency but the participation in this program allows the company to also share ideas and learn from others who participate.

“Our purpose of joining was for the support of others and to do something we already wanted to do,” he adds. —Tara Taffera

DOE and HUD Energy Improvement Program Underway A
Eighteen national, regional and local lenders have announced that they will participate in a new two-year pilot program that will offer qualified borrowers living in certain parts of the country low-cost loans to make energy-saving improvements, including installation of replacement doors and windows. The program is part of a joint program offered by the Department of Energy, U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Federal Housing Administration, in which the involved lenders will provide PowerSaver loans to homeowners in amounts up to $25,000.

“We believe the market is right for a low-cost financing option for families who want energy-saving technologies in their home,” says HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “PowerSaver hits on all cylinders by helping credit-worthy homeowners finance these upgrades, cut their energy bills and boost the local job market in the process. While FHA and these lenders are jumpstarting this pilot, we hope its success will lead to a growing private sector interest in making these types of loans.” PowerSaver was designed to allow borrowers who have the ability and motivation to take on modest additional debt to realize the savings over time from home energy improvements, according to DOE. PowerSaver loans are only available to borrowers with good credit, manageable debt and at least some equity in their home.

Energy Hog
According to the DOE, manufacturing uses nearly a third of U.S. energy, contributes more to the U.S. economy than any other sector (12 percent) and employs 14 million workers. DOE officials say boosting industrial energy efficiency is a means to significantly reduce future carbon emissions in the United States.

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