It took approximately 414,655 megawatt hours (MWh) to power our manufacturing plants worldwide in 2019. That means we used 23,513 MWh less electricity in 2019 than we did in 2013 — the difference is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from driving more than 3,550 passenger vehicles. Our approach is to improve operational efficiency to optimize our energy use and increase business productivity and reduce emissions through strategic transition to renewable energy sources.
In 2019, we achieved a 5% reduction in energy intensity as a direct result of conservation and energy efficiency initiatives. We achieved significant renewable energy generation through a virtual purchase power agreement (VPPA), on-site renewables and renewable energy certificates.
We pursue certification standards at several of our sites around the world. At the end of 2019, we had 5 ISO 50001-certified sites, 4 LEED-certified sites and 3 GreenGlobe-certified sites.
We must be more energy efficient to reduce GHG emissions. That’s why we committed to reduce our absolute energy consumption 10% by 2030. We worked hard to exceed our 2020 target of a 10% increase in energy efficiency, and we believe our new goal to reduce absolute energy consumption is part of what it means to keep pushing further.
Our total energy efficiency has improved by 27% since 2013. Important energy efficiency initiatives include:
Strategically transitioning to renewable resources is core to making our operations and supply chain carbon neutral by 2030. As of 2019, we have four investments in on- and off-site renewable energy:
|Trenton Solar Project||Location: Trenton, New Jersey|
|Type: On-Site Solar|
|Estimated Annual Production: 1,990 kW|
|REC Treatment: REC Swap*|
|Columbia Solar Project||Location: Columbia, South Carolina|
|Type: On-Site Solar PV|
|Estimated Annual Production: 1.35 MW direct current|
|REC Treatment: REC Swap*|
|Taicang Solar Project||Location: Taicang, China|
|Type: On-Site Solar|
|Estimated Annual Production: 2,800 kW|
|REC Treatment: Company owns renewable energy attributes from 100% of generation|
|Seymour Hall Wind Farm VPPA||Location: northern Texas|
|Type: Wind virtual purchase power agreement (VPPA)|
|Estimated Annual Production: 110,000 MWh|
|REC Treatment: Company owns and retires RECs|
*REC Swap: The Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from this project are sold to the utility to meet RPS requirements. We purchased replacement RECs from other renewable energy facilities in the U.S.
In Trenton and Columbia, we have agreements to sell the renewable energy attributes we generate to the local utility. To continue working toward our operational goals, we replace what is sold with Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) — a certificate corresponding to the environmental attributes of energy produced from renewable sources — in the matching amount of the renewable electricity we generated. We generate solar energy in China, where we use it in our operations. We also sell some of it to the grid during off-peak times. In total, the solar installations address about 15% of the electricity load at these three manufacturing sites.
Our VPPA in Texas started generating electricity in June 2019, helping reduce our U.S. Scope 2 GHG emissions from electricity use by about 30%. This is the equivalent of taking 15,000 cars off the road.
Between generated renewable electricity and renewable electricity purchased through our VPPA, our investments resulted in a reduction of 17% in our market-based Scope 2 GHG emissions in 2019. Read more about our approach to managing GHG emissions, pollutant emissions and refrigerants.
We believe large-scale investments in renewables are vital to shift to a clean-energy economy. Direct investment in on-site renewable energy has several advantages, depending on where you are in the world. It can provide the clearest claim to the renewables and have a direct impact on our operations. And, in parts of the world with uncertain electricity prices and availability, on-site renewable energy ensures greater operational continuity.
|Absolute Energy Use* (units: billion KJ)||2019||2018||2017||2016||2015||2014||2013|
|Direct (fuel use)||2,228||2,164||2,132||2,148||2,175||2,158||2,259|
|Normalized energy use (billion KJ/million USD)||0.224||0.236||0.256||0.272||0.280||0.290||0.308|
|Renewable energy (see full Renewable Energy data below)||9||5||0||0||0||0||0|
|Total direct energy||2,228||2,164||2,132||2,148||2,175||2,158||2,259|
|2019 Renewable Energy Data (units: billion KJ)|
|Renewable energy generated||10|
|Renewable energy generated and sold to grid||1|
|Renewable energy generated and used||9|
|Renewable energy purchased||235|
*Slight adjustments made to previously reported data for 2013-2017 to reflect changes in our operational footprint.
Carbon neutrality means an operation has zero net GHG emissions. It requires hard assessment of the business and an understanding of what needs to happen to reduce emissions and offset emissions in the most efficient way possible.
This year, we started taking steps to turn Thermo King’s Navigate Line in Galway, Ireland, carbon neutral. We teamed up with the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering to map the carbon footprint of our existing production line. The assessment determined that we can get there through a combination of low-energy consumption assembly equipment, on-site solar electricity generation, bio-based liquefied petroleum gas and diesel, and carbon offsets for the balance of GHG emissions. We look forward to implementing these initiatives to measure and assess whether they are working to get us to carbon neutral. This is just one part of how we’re acting on climate challenges.
We’re about high-performance sustainability. Focusing on energy efficiency drives us toward solutions that are better for the environment and better for business. It’s not just about repairing and replacing old equipment to save money. It’s about designing smarter systems that support renewable energy integration, reduce strains on the grid and add value for our customers.
We made our first formal commitment to improve energy efficiency in 2009. We hit that target early and have since continued driving forward by relentlessly setting and achieving bolder targets. That’s how we dropped our energy intensity by more than 25% and why we are honored that the Alliance to Save Energy recognized us as the 2019 Star of Doubling Down on Energy Efficiency. As we work toward our boldest goals yet, our 2030 Sustainability Commitments, energy efficiency will continue playing a starring role in our innovations, technology solutions and operational initiatives.