E3 Success Story - Southwest Virginia: Economy, Energy and the Environment
- Launched in 2009
- Lead Organization: Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC) and the Southwest Research Institute
E3 Southwest Virginia
The Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC), part of GENEDGE Alliance (NIST MEP) affiliate, has joined forces with statewide partners to develop an E3 (Economy, Energy and the Environment) initiative.
E3 Southwest Virginia supports sustainable manufacturing in 17 counties in southwest Virginia. Joining forces with the local community, the MTC provides manufacturers with hands-on assessments of production processes to reduce their energy consumption; minimize their carbon footprint; and help them comply with environmental regulations, prevent pollution, increase productivity, and drive innovation. The MTC is in a unique position to provide these services to our manufacturing clients. Our staff comes from a manufacturing background, with each member having decades of manufacturing experience. This experience, along with a strong relationship with southwest Virginia industries, allows the MTC access to facilities not otherwise possible.
More than 27 public and private-sector organizations are participating in E3 Southwest Virginia, including:
- Virginia Community College System
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics
- U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Industrial Assessment Center at North Carolina State University
- U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration
- U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), MEP
E3 Activities and Results
With the support of its partners, E3 Southwest Virginia has conducted E3 technical assessments for 12 manufacturers, with nine more scheduled next year. "Lean and Green" events have occurred at four facilities, with four more scheduled for next year. First year savings identified for manufacturers total approximately:
- Lean: $2.5 million in inventory reduction, reduced labor and increased efficiency opportunities.
- Energy: Energy conservation opportunities saving $234,000, 4.8 million kWh, and 13.8 MMBtus.
- Environmental: Opportunities saving $261,000, 12.7 million gallons of water, and 12 million gallons of water pollution.
- Pollution Prevention: Opportunities for preventing more than 10,000 pounds of solid waste and 10,000 pounds of hazardous waste.
Additional E3 activities conducted to date include six energy manager workshops, three environmental and energy peer-to-peer conferences, and three environmental and energy newsletters. Newsletters were distributed to more than 650 recipients each. Events were attended by more than 250 clients representing 52 manufacturers.
- The MTC was awarded $50,000 by the Virginia Appalachian Regional Commission and $50,000 by the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission for facilitating E3 projects in seven counties in southwest Virginia.
- EPA has awarded grants totaling $88,000 for each of the next two years (concluding in September 2013) for conducting E3 technical assessments and related activities in 17 counties in southwest Virginia.
The current state of manufacturing in southwest Virginia requires plant staff to assume multiple responsibilities and "wear many hats." As a result, staff members seldom have the time to search for improvement opportunities. Through E3, MTC assists manufacturers by searching for opportunities, developing solutions, reporting to plant staff and management, and assisting with implementation resources. Since the bottom line does not always allow for a trained environmental professional on site, the E3 assessment helps manufacturers prevent future landfill contamination and avoid possible fines.