Turning Lights Down, and Profits Up

How one company is cutting down on its energy usage

(Page 2 of 2)

Environmentalists will wish him luck. Next time they feel the urge to denounce globalization for (supposedly) undermining environmental regulation, they might remember that globalization means new competition, which means cutting costs, which means cutting waste, which means cutting energy use and pollution. At the plants I visited in East Hartford and Middletown, energy use is down by more than a fourth since 1997; water use by more than half; solid waste by a fifth; airborne emissions by more than a third.

Green eyeshades will wish him luck, too. By my calculations, based on company data, if United Technologies still consumed as much energy today as it did in 1997, its annual energy bills would be almost $50 million higher. If its energy use had doubled in line with its revenues since 1997, its energy costs would be almost $300 million higher.

In a long, narrow room at the plant in Middletown, a jet engine, this one destined for a military plane, waits in harness. Like every other engine assembled here, it will be tested before leaving the factory. I ask a nearby engineer if the hot exhaust from these tests will be recaptured for energy. No, comes the reply; no one has figured out how to do that efficiently.

But check back in a few years.

© Copyright 2007 National Journal

Jonathan Rauch is a senior writer and columnist for National Journal and a frequent contributor to Reason. The article was originally published by National Journal.

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