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Columbia Machine measures double-digit energy efficiency gain

During an 18-month power audit and management program involving Clark Public Utilities, Vancouver, Wash.-based Columbia Machine has reduced energy use per unit of output, or energy intensity, by 16 percent. The products machinery, handling system and batch plant manufacturer measures energy usage using a statistical model factoring production volumes and past energy usage against current consumption.

From April 2010 through May 2011, Columbia tracked energy intensity amounting to savings of 830,000 kilowatt hours, crediting a factory-wide lighting upgrade as the biggest contributor to the power efficiency. Additionally, in June 2010 Columbia was introduced to a Clark Public Utilities- and Bonneville Power Administration-sponsored energy saving initiative called High Performance Energy Management (HPEM). It enlisted the company and other Vancouver-area industrial operators in an effort to integrate energy management as a business practice.

As a result, Columbia has focused on employee participation and soliciting energy-saving ideas. They have included plant workers’ fixing compressed air leaks; more energy-efficient welders; and, turning equipment down or off during nonproduction times. In July 2011, Columbia's Energy Team reported on their progress at the final HPEM workshop and achieved the most savings of any participating company.