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I want to offer you a challenge and a solution

The challenge is to take your carbon footprint seriously and the solution is to use that awareness of your factory’s dent in the sand to drive your costs down.

See, I know what you’re thinking…Carbon footprint! You must be kidding.

Not so fast - You see, measuring carbon just got off on the wrong foot in America as a touchy-feely, tree-hugging sissified thing with no real benefit…unless you consider providing California fundraiser cocktail party-types banter and talking points a real benefit.

Put bluntly, carbon devolved into just another chance for the soulful Left to attack the greedy Right. 

Ipso facto, the carbon footprint got hijacked as a major political whining point. 

But, friends, we cannot afford to let the story end there.

I respectively ask you to park any summary judgments for a moment and follow me on this. 

You know most of it already. 

But like any manifesto worth the parchment it’s written on, I want to make it easy for you to use your carbon footprint number to drive cost-lowering change. 

Now, on to our 8 points and how to actually use your carbon footprint to drive your costs down.  

With these actions you can easily take 10-35% out of your energy budget:

Let’s start though with something very basic:  

What exactly is a carbon footprint and why do you and I care?

Carbon is simply the exhaust from almost everything that produces energy. Breathing, making electricity, and burning things. 

As far as manufacturers are concerned, carbon footprint is a measure of how much our utilities are burning things to make the energy needed to do whatever it is you do.

Why care though? 

We are burning a lot of things up that we won’t ever be able to get back.

Electricity powers our current world and fossil fuels power our electricity. Since it takes millions of years to make a fossil, the current fuels will not powering the world forever. 

Everyone paying attention now should feel a sense of urgency from this über-concept.

How long before we reach the energy cliff? It’s anyone’s guess but when it happens it will probably happen quickly. 

Why are we unsure about this? Politics again. Even though a lot of people spend a lot of time estimating our energy reserve estimating tools are weakened by the same style of myopic politics that power our markets and government.

Forget the powers that be though! You have way more power than you think to take control locally, at your plant. 

How? You guessed it…By measuring and track the footprint that our energy use leaves on the earth.

It is so easy you won’t believe it. We do that by simply converting the electricity we use and the natural gas and other fuels we burn into the common denominator of carbon. There are websites galore that will convert your personal usage to a carbon number and track it for you.

  1. Get and energy management system and actually look at the data. What gets measured gets improved. Inefficiencies will glare at you if you do this and your costs will go down. 

  2. Appoint an internal champion to watch the numbers and drive usage down. Without a drum major to lead your band, your carbon data will just be one more source of noise. Every company needs an energy rabbi.

  3. Follow batteries. So Tesla goes, so goes the nation. While their development seems glacially slow, giant future batteries will allow us store cheap power and use it when we need it.

  4. Follow local wind and solar. They are getting way cheaper and doable. Just keep in mind that without batteries, supplies of wind and solar energy are still as predictable as a middle-school girl.

    Until batteries take over the planet, there will be no relying on them no matter how cheap they become. 

  5. Change to LED bulbs everywhere. And by the way, don’t roll your eyes about changing your bulbs yet again when the new whiz-bang bulb comes out in 5 years.

  6. Install sensors to turn things off when not in use – they actually work now so put them everywhere. Some of you are having flashbacks of total internal bathroom library eclipses.

  7. Optimize equipment according to industry and manufacturer specs. Reach out to your trade association.
  8. Google, “Save energy” often – these things seem to change.


Summarizing; Calculating, pondering, taking these actions and continuing to talk about your carbon output frequently will save you a lot of money. That’s it.

We cannot count on Wall Street or our myopic government to light this path.

The good news for independent types like you and me is that we don’t need them now for this and we never really did. Energy questions are solved locally. Decide to use the carbon footprint number to drive and measure the impact of your efforts.

Forget waiting on the sniffy politicians and take action!