Energy Champions Hunt for Savings

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Energy Champions Hunt for SavingsCummins’ Freddie Lacewell in the building management system control room at the Rocky Mount Engine Plant in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, can monitor energy use from every corner of the plant from the room.

Posted: May 8, 2014

You can tell them by their green shirts and their determined look that says “I’m going to find wasted energy and fix it.”

They are Cummins Energy Champions and they have found hundreds of instances of wasted energy around the Company, ranging from compressed air leaks and inefficient equipment, to lights left on and dock doors left open letting in hot air.

As they fix these examples and more, the Energy Champions are proving that small things can add up to make a big difference.

This year (2014) marks the 5th anniversary of Cummins Energy Champion program. Since 2009, more than 240 Energy Champions and their deputies have gone through training and in turn trained countless Energy Leaders to help in the effort.

The program was created after Cummins committed to a voluntary 25 percent greenhouse gas reduction (GHG) goal by 2010 as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders program.

“It is very exciting to me to that after five years, our Energy Champion program is still very actively engaging employees and teaching them how to reduce energy use,” said Mark Dhennin, Director of Energy Efficiency. “Employees know they are making a difference, both for the environment and for our bottom line, and that is what has kept this program successful and meaningful.”


Cummins has targeted its highest energy consuming plants, technical centers, offices, and warehouses for the Energy Champions program. By the end of 2014, the 46 largest energy-consuming sites in 11 countries (which comprise approximately 90 percent of the Cummins global energy footprint) are required to complete the program.

To date, the Company’s energy efficiency initiatives have delivered approximately $30 million annually to Cummins’ bottom line, with about five to 10 percent of those savings coming from the grass-roots employee engagement projects led by the Energy Champions.

On average, energy efficiency projects have a very attractive 30 percent or more return on investment. The April, 2014, Energy Champion class was the largest ever – 53 environmental and facility leaders from every location in China.

The Champions take an intensive week-long course with specific training along seven energy themes: power management, lighting, building envelope, heating and cooling, machinery and equipment, fuel usage and energy recovery.

There are course materials about energy and GHG basics and standards, including a primer on climate science, fundamental energy terms, how energy is generated and used, and understanding utility bills.

Champions also learn how to conduct energy efficiency assessments and energy treasure hunts, how to evaluate and prioritize projects and develop site energy plans.


“The Energy Champion program has been one of the best programs I have been involved with in my 32 years at Cummins, “ said Scott Williams, one of the first Energy Champions and Health, Safety and Environment leader at the Rocky Mount Engine Plant (RMEP) in North Carolina.

The plant is the Company’s top energy user, at an annual spend of $6 million, with 22 percent coming from compressed air use. Compressed air is so expensive, and waste is so often ignored, that it is frequently called “the fourth utility.”

RMEP is currently leading the Company’s targeted focus on compressed air. In addition, Rocky Mount is the first Cummins facility to install a high-tech building management system, which monitors energy use at each and every one of the more than 90 meters around the plant.

Every breaker, compressed air drop, natural gas user and fuel tank has been metered in the last three years, and the data collected has supported numerous projects for electricity and compressed air reduction using Six Sigma, the business problem solving tool.

Plant energy efficiency leaders estimate that its extensive metering program has saved the plant $250,000 in energy costs per year as well as nearly 2,000 metric tons of CO2.


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