Policymakers are looking to energy efficiency to reduce the world’s dependency on fossil fuels and address climate change. Yet our understanding of how individual behavior influences energy use is still poor. This project aims to narrow that knowledge gap through a new advanced energy monitoring system designed to save industry energy and money
The E2e Project has partnered with Lightapp Inc. to conduct the largest demonstration and evaluation, to date, of an innovative energy monitoring system for industrial facilities. This project will provide industrial customers and policymakers empirical evidence about whether advanced energy monitoring is a cost-effective approach to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Lightapp has developed an application-based, optimized energy management system for industrial facilities. This innovative approach to energy management puts electricity consumption of specific plant systems in terms of these systems’ production outputs. Lightapp’s software combines data from shop-floor sensors, manufacturing software systems, and external data to create reports that allow industrial decision makers to discover, analyze, and share data about how they consume energy—and, more importantly, how they might use it more efficiently. The reports also identify operational changes, repairs, and capital investments that would lower consumption.
For this project, E2e will test Lightapp’s energy monitoring system in one hundred California industrial facilities. The project will focus on the facilities’ compressed air systems and has partnered with two compressed air companies, CDA Systems and Osterbauer Compressor Service, to install the necessary equipment. Compressed air systems do everything from running bottling lines at breweries to powering tools in automotive factories and account for around 10 percent of the electricity used by manufacturers. In some plants, compressors use more electricity than any other kind of machinery. If successful, the technology can be used throughout a facility to measure and optimize energy consumption in every part of the manufacturing process.
E2e will structure the evaluation as a randomized controlled trial, where randomly chosen facilities will be recruited to participate and receive Lightapp’s analytical software. This arrangement will enable the faculty researchers - Catherine Wolfram (UC Berkeley), Michael Greenstone (University of Chicago), and Christopher Knittel (MIT) - to precisely measure the impact of the new technology and analytics on industrial facilities’ electricity consumption. By including a sampling of facilities from different industrial sectors, the researchers also hope to identify which types of facilities are more likely to adopt the new technology and gather information on potential barriers to adoption.
This project aims to generate rigorous and reliable evidence on the effectiveness of an industrial energy management system. If successful, the findings can be used to encourage thousands of California manufacturers—and even more worldwide—to deploy energy management systems to save energy, lower costs, and reduce carbon emissions.