Across every major industry and in markets all over the world, sustainability is gaining major momentum in the 21st century business world. And the primary reasons behind the global push for “greener” operations are two-pronged — as some of the same practices that can help preserve the planet can also help businesses boost their bottom lines.
The primary avenue for industries to achieve these environmental and financial goals — sustainability-based production — focuses on reducing electricity consumption both to cut CO2 emissions and to generate substantial savings for enterprises that implement the practice. And for businesses looking to achieve sustainability-based production, optimizing their compressed air usage can be an outsized contributing factor.
5 data points on air compressors and a greener future
In a wide range of industries, compressed air optimization is a leading contributor to making sustainability-based production a reality. So, with Earth Day right around the corner, we at Atlas Copco urge you to consider these five data points that demonstrate the importance of businesses’ environmental efforts, along with how more efficient compressed air operations can support both the planet and your own company’s profits:
With the efficient use of compressed air, businesses in the United States alone could save over 13 billion kilowatt-hours each year — amounting to $1.3 billion in energy savings annually. In doing so, the nation could also eliminate around 9 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.
One metric ton of CO2 is enough to fill a single-story, 1,250-square-foot house. So, the 9 million metric tons of CO2 emissions mentioned above that optimized compressed air usage could prevent each year — in the United States alone — would be enough to fill 9 million homes of this size.
Boosting compressed air efficiency is a common desire among U.S. industry leaders and decision-makers. In fact, in a 2021 survey of more than 50,000 engineers, contractors and plant personnel nationwide regarding their compressed air, benchmarking compressed air systems for efficiency tied for second place among respondents’ top concerns, with 16% ranking this as their No. 1 consideration.
Held in late 2021, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) saw more than 120 world leaders come together in Glasgow, Scotland, in an effort to enact climate change-countering policies globally. Some of the most potentially impactful results of the gathering included a pact urging countries to phase down fossil fuel and coal subsidies, plus pledges by 130-plus countries possessing 90% of the world’s forests to halt and reverse deforestation — all in addition to pledges to cut methane emissions, make moves toward zero-emission vehicles and more.
(All of the COP26 efforts came on the heels of an alarming report conveying an urgent need for environmental action. Published in August 2021 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the climate change report was referred to as nothing less than a “code red for humanity.”)
Here in the United States, to help ensure nationwide energy efficiency in the compressed air industry, the U.S. Department of Energy has established soon-to-be-enforced minimum efficiency standards for compressors. Set to become mandatory in January 2025, the new regulations were established with input from all major compressor manufacturers. And, during the three decades starting with the first full year of their enforcement, the updated regulations are estimated to deliver a lifetime energy savings of over 15 billion kilowatt-hours — which equates to the amount of energy needed to power 1.6 million homes for a year.