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WIREs Energy Environ.
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Global overview—the systems approach to energy efficiency in industry

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The energy systems that support industrial processes can be found in all types of industry and include compressed air, pumping, and fan systems (collectively known as motor systems), steam systems, and process heating systems. They are integral to the operation of industrial facilities by providing the essential conversion of energy into useful work, energized fluids or heat required for production processes. Improving the efficiency of industrial energy systems does not require major investment in new processes or equipment. Barriers to systems optimization are often behavioral rather than financial, with system inefficiencies frequently attributable to lack of knowledge. Measurement of the efficiency of motor and steam systems is not done and projects capable of improving systems efficiency do not attract the attention of company managers. In developed countries, where energy efficiency is now an important component of climate policy, measures capable of driving systems level improvements, have been introduced, but, to date, their impacts have been limited. The challenge for policy makers worldwide is to bring about a lasting change in industrial management behavior that recognizes the benefits of systems optimization. The International Standards Organization 50001 Energy Management Standard will afford industrial managers with an opportunity to address systems optimization within the organizing framework of an energy management system standard, thus supporting continuous improvement in energy performance. This article is categorized under: Energy Efficiency > Economics and Policy

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