Material Transparency and Supply Chain Impacts

Posted on 5/8/2015 8:44:38 AM By Paul Bertram

Part of the current focus on Material Transparency includes requests for Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).This has been an ongoing discussion at ASC for the last few years.  Part of that reporting includes primary energy and renewable energy. In the case of the work I have done for Kingspan Insulated Panels, 93.6 % of environmental impacts come from suppliers. As part of Kingspan’s effort to reduce their Energy Intensity Use (EUI) they enrolled into the EERE (Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy) Better Plants program that is within the Advanced Manufacturing Office.

department of energy, better plants

The obligation for participation in the Better Plants Program requires demonstrating their commitment to improving energy performance by signing a voluntary pledge to reduce their energy intensity by 25% over a ten year period.  This is directly tied to the “end “product manufacturer in the EPD reporting.

By partnering with DOE partners gain:

  • Access to program experts who:
    • Provide help in establishing and analyzing key energy performance metrics
    • Assist in identifying emerging, energy-efficient technologies applicable to plant operation
    • Facilitate networking and peer-to-peer sharing with other partners
    • Technical in-plant training opportunities on common energy use systems and plant-wide energy management

ASC members represent both “end” products that may need to consider development of EPDs and material suppliers whose impacts are included to those “end” product manufacturers.

To enhance the Better Plants program manufacturers are encouraged to engage “upstream” suppliers in the Better Plants Supply Chain Pilot. EERE states that to improve energy efficiency throughout “upstream”s supply chains potentially impacts 40 to 60 percent of a manufacturing company’s energy and carbon footprint. Coordinating energy management practices between companies and their supply chains has the potential to significantly improve industrial energy productivity and reduce the amount of energy embedded in manufactured products and demonstrate an economic benefit.

By participating in the supply chain initiative, suppliers will become part of the Better Plants Program. They also will be asked to commit to reducing their (EUI) energy intensity by 25% over ten years, or similarly ambitious targets, across all their U.S. manufacturing operations.

Opportunities for ASC members:

  • Reduce Energy related environmental impacts and related energy costs
  • Differentiate that information to customers
  • DOE expertise including valuable tools and assistance tailored to small and medium-sized manufacturers
  • A DOE assigned Technical Account Manager (TAM) to assist the suppliers collect and report energy data
  • To qualified manufacturers - priority access to no-cost energy audits by DOE’s Industrial Assessment Centers
  • Energy Intensity Base lining and Tracking Guidance
  • Access to DOE’s EnPI 4.0 tool, updated recently to include GHG and cost savings calculations
    energy efficiency, energy

If you have questions, I am happy to speak with you directly and provide EERE contacts. As a final comment, Kingspan reduced their EUI by 22.06 % in the second year of reporting against a 10 year 25% reduction commitment.

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