A New Product for Cook County Manufacturers: Big Savings Delta Institute to Reveal Report at Sept. 10 Forum, and Present Path to Significant Cost Savings CHICAGO (Aug. 16, 2012) – Cook County manufacturing firms could save hundreds of millions of dollars annually, increase employment in the sector, protect the environment and make their processes and equipment more effective if they implement changes that Chicago’s Delta Institute recommends. Delta’s new report shows manufacturers the way to become more competitive as energy costs continue to rise, and reveals how some firms have already responded to recommendations. Delta’s CEO Jean Pogge will present the report, “Energy Efficiency and Cook County Manufacturers: An Unrealized Opportunity,” during a public forum co-sponsored by Delta Institute and the University of Chicago’s Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. The panel discussion will occur Monday, Sept. 10, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at the Gleacher Center, 450 N. Cityfront Plaza in Chicago. The evening’s panelists include Todd Rusk, associate director, energy and sustainable business programs, Business Innovation Services at University of Illinois. Also, Howard Skolnik will describe the impact of energy efficiency changes on his steel drum firm, Skolnik Industries. Delta’s Tom Cushing will serve as moderator. Tickets for the forum are $15 and are available online at http://tinyurl.com/9vaol28. Delta’s report analyzes results of energy efficiency audits at 39 Cook County manufacturers, completed in 2011 and 2012, and data collected over a 10-year period from 2002-2011 by the Industrial Assessment Center (IAC). Delta’s audits identified potential savings of at least $1.4 million dollars and elimination of more than 10,000 tons of greenhouses gases annually for those 39 firms alone. The data, extrapolated for all 8,440 manufacturing firms in Cook County, suggests they could save a combined $303 million dollars in costs each year. Delta’s most frequent recommendations pertained to lighting, eliminating leaks from gas or steam lines and compressed air, using more efficient electric motors, and installing occupancy sensors and programmable components. These are almost exactly the same recommendations of IAC, reinforcing the fact that “these four relatively simple energy efficiency measures are a good idea,” according to the report. Surprisingly, the report also found that manufacturers did not necessarily implement the most cost-effective measures to enhance efficiency, and that measures they did implement were not necessarily those with the lowest costs or best paybacks. Firms wishing to take advantage of improvements should, as a first step, identify and prioritize energy efficiency investments that are effective and readily adopted. “There are significant cost savings available, some with little capital investment,” says Delta Institute’s Pogge, who notes that one barrier to implementing change is the belief that what’s good for the environment is going to negatively impact the bottom line. “That’s a myth,” she says. Delta’s report indicates enormous potential for improvement, and highlights supporting evidence from a U.S. Department of Energy study, which shows that in five of the largest manufacturing sectors in the Midwest, manufacturing firms used more energy per unit of production than the national average. If those parts of the Midwest manufacturing sector became as efficient as the national average, it would save $7.3 billion dollars. “Imagine that kind of financial influx into our region’s manufacturers. It would provide huge potential for job growth,” Pogge says.