Guided by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) set a goal that aims to drive a 25 percent reduction in industrial energy intensity in 10 years (25 in 10) through its Save Energy Now initiative. ITP has partnered with industry stakeholders to achieve this ambitious goal and has invited leaders of industrial companies to take a voluntary pledge to reduce their facilities' energy intensity by 25 percent or more over the next 10 years and be recognized as Save Energy Now LEADER companies.

On December 2, 2009, individuals from 32 companies representing a broad range of the U.S. industrial sector gathered in Washington, D.C., to demonstrate their commitment to energy efficiency by partnering with ITP and signing the voluntary pledge. The signing ceremony marked the official launch of DOE's LEADER program, which had already flourished in the short time it had been up and running. Eleven companies had already committed to the 25 in 10 goal at the Midwest Industrial Energy Efficiency Exchange in Detroit on September 9-10 — and just three months later, 21 more companies had joined the initiative, with 10 more following suit after the December 2 event.

To date, 44 LEADER companies have not only made considerable commitments to energy efficiency that will lead to significant energy and carbon savings and a clean-energy future, but have also stepped up to the plate as role models and pace setters for others in the industrial sector. LEADER companies do not simply sign a pledge in order to obtain resources—they make a commitment to action. These companies develop energy-intensity baselines and energy-management plans and report their progress to ITP on an annual basis. To help LEADER companies achieve the aggressive 25 in 10 goal, beginning in 2010, ITP has changed its Save Energy Now initiative to improve the way it delivers resources to its partners. Moving forward, the focus of Save Energy Now will be directed toward providing LEADER companies with support and priority access to the resources and tools that are essential to becoming more energy efficient. Among the improved resources are Technical Account Managers (TAMs), enhanced Energy Saving Assessments (ESAs), and a multitude of other technical assistance.

Technical Account Managers
The LEADER program is implemented by two integrating contractor teams lead by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Project Performance Corporation/AEA Technology. Each LEADER is assigned a TAM from one of the two integrating contractor teams that acts as an energy-management expert and provides tailored technical assistance to help the company reach the Pledge goal, which includes assistance in developing an energy baseline and energy-management plan; regular progress reviews to measure how well the company is able to achieve energy-saving project implementation; and notification when new opportunities, programs, or resources become available from DOE and others. The TAM undertakes a series of initial evaluation activities in coordination with the LEADER to determine the most appropriate type and level of services to be provided by the program. TAMs also provide LEADER Companies with training that teaches them the long-term skills necessary to self-sustain energy efficiency efforts.

Enhanced Energy Saving Assessments
Prior to 2010, any company nationwide could partner with ITP to participate in no-cost energy audits and assessments to identify savings opportunities in their facilities' operations. Those companies that do not join the Save Energy Now LEADER initiative are still offered a number of tools and resources that will help them save energy and money, including online downloads and access to hand-picked resources that support energy efficiency efforts, however, traditional open access to energy assessments is no longer available to those who have not taken the pledge. Companies can still apply for ESAs, but priority access will be granted to LEADER Companies.

ITP is focused on advancing efficiency actions that will result in the best British thermal unit (Btu)-saved-per-dollar investment, and therefore is offering its enhanced on-site ESAs to LEADER plants that have the largest energy-intensity-improvement potential, and implementation ability through leveraged cost-share. Specifically, a plant must use 0.5 trillion Btu per year or greater to qualify for an enhanced ESA. To perform the assessments, ITP has newly contracted Energy Experts who will help companies identify ways to improve efficiency. Additional benefits plants receive include tailored recommendations, follow-up support, return on investment calculation assistance, and CEO/plant management outreach.

Any plant that uses less than 0.5 trillion Btu of energy annually, LEADER or non-LEADER, will be directed to apply for traditional ESAs, and assessment opportunities offered by ITP-sponsored Industrial Assessment Centers, State and Regional Save Energy Now partnership programs, and Manufacturing Extension Partnership programs.

Other Technical Assistance
ITP is dedicated to supporting LEADER companies in meeting their energy-reduction targets and will provide them with personalized attention, resources and tools that will assist them in accomplishing their goals. LEADER companies with the potential to achieve significant energy savings may receive training, access and assistance in using DOE software tools to identify energy-savings opportunities, publications, recommendations about utility incentive programs, evaluation of new technology deployment opportunities, services from state Save Energy Now programs and the Save Energy Now ALLY program, and information on energy-management standards.

Photo of someone holding a pen pointing to an upward trending line graph.

Another supplementary resource that LEADER companies will have access to is an electronic information Portal that acts as a multifunctional tool, housing a large amount of technical information, tools, resources and contacts. The portal is also designed to help each LEADER and TAM easily track progress and store energy-intensity information and details regarding planned and implemented projects.

How to Get Involved
ITP invites companies to become a Save Energy Now LEADER and begin reducing their energy use, carbon emissions, and costs while increasing economic viability. Working together, ITP and U.S. industry can continue leveraging the potential of energy efficiency to provide near- and long-term job creation and increase America's economic competitiveness.

The first step to becoming a Save Energy Now LEADER is to sign the pledge and voluntarily commit to reducing your company's energy intensity by 25 percent or more in 10 years. Interested companies can find more information at the Save Energy Now LEADER Web site, http://www.eere.energy.gov/industry/saveenergynow/leader.html, or can e-mail the program at SaveEnergyNow@ee.doe.gov.