June 2005 
Volume 04, Issue 2 
New and Notable

Using energy to save on energy

Using energy to save on energy

Workshops help sites lower utility bills

Most people would love to find ways to shrink their home utility bills. With its annual energy costs estimated at $250 million, Boeing would like to shrink its bill too. Teams of employees around the company are making it happen by taking part in Energy Accelerated Improvement Workshops.

EAIWs are based on the Accelerated Improvement Workshop process Boeing uses to make rapid improvements, eliminate waste and improve efficiency in manufacturing and office environments. Teams of people who work in an area audit the tasks and processes performed, look for improvement opportunities, and make changes.

The energy version of the AIW began in 2002 after John Norris, U.S. Southern and Eastern Regional Energy manager for the Boeing Energy Management organization, attended an AIW in Long Beach, Calif.

At the workshop, a symbolic light bulb went on over Norris' head. "Let's pull out the utilities portion," he said. Since then, a lot of real light bulbs have gone off all over Boeing as the team quickly adapted AIW techniques to energy conservation and began conducting EAIWs. These events, along with other energy savings changes, have saved about $7 million annually.

An EAIW starts with a kickoff meeting including site executives, who sponsor the event, and a site's core team members. Some are mechanical, lighting, or heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) experts. Other team members provide a fresh look from the nontechnical point of view and help promote energy awareness among fellow employees. After training, the core EAIW team works full time for up to five days. They survey the entire site looking at everything that uses energy.

They come up with improvements and classify them as immediate, short term or long term. Immediate items, such as reprogramming a lighting schedule or resetting air conditioning, are fixed on the spot.

Short-term improvements, such as attending to a compressed-air leak, are scheduled.

A long-term improvement resulting from an EAIW might be the installation of more efficient lighting along with motion detectors to turn it on and off as needed, such as at the Commercial Airplanes Spares facility near Seattle-Tacoma International airport. That improvement alone is saving an estimated $140,000 annually.

EAIWs have helped other Boeing sites cut energy costs. Improvements in Macon, Ga., have produced an estimated yearly savings of $194,000. Meanwhile, the El Segundo, Calif., site has saved a total of $865,000 since its first EAIW in May 2002, said Rick Hallock, site energy focal, Workplace Services.

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