Welding stock image. Credit: IStock

Action this day: manufacturers can’t wait for Net Zero help from the government

New research findings paint a worrying picture of the manufacturing industry’s transition to net-zero after a leading industry think tank pleaded with the government for increased aid to the sector to help reduce emissions.

After modeling data from the Office for National Statistics, the Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC) warned that without state aid, the sector will emit 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually by 2050 and will not reach net zero until 2147. The organization’s subsequent advocacy for increased funding to improve energy resilience and sustainability has become even more urgent following the findings of building analysis specialists CIM.

CIM interviewed 100 facility managers at hi-tech tier 1 UK manufacturers for its The blind spots of energy report, and found that while 81% of respondents rated their sites as energy efficient, less than a third admitted to constantly monitoring their facility’s carbon emissions. Worryingly, this is despite the fact that 63% of respondents’ sites are certified to the ISO 50001 energy management standard.

Welding Stock Image Credit: IStock

Credit: IStock

“The manufacturing sector is notoriously energy-intensive, so the MTC’s warnings couldn’t come soon enough, especially in light of the findings of our own investigation,” said Paul Walsh, General Manager at CIM. “What this combined data clearly shows is that there is a fundamental mismatch between what is currently happening, both within the factories and in the wider industry, and what is needed.

“So we would agree with the MTC’s findings, but we would go one step further. Stepping up investment in hydrogen and carbon capture, as they suggest, will undoubtedly help the country meet its net-zero targets, but immediate steps can also be taken in the short term. All too often, fluctuations in temperature, humidity and differential pressure can go unnoticed and a ‘set and forget’ mentality can permeate the entire plant. This can cause settings to deviate from the target parameters over time, resulting in an unnecessary increase in emissions.”

An important driver behind the current situation in factories is also identified within The blind spots of energy, with only 35% of facility managers surveyed believing that HVAC costs were a priority for the C-Suite. But with these utilities representing up to 45% of the site’s total energy consumption, the need for facility management (FM) teams to accurately analyze building data and identify appropriate actions to improve overall efficiency is more pressing than ever.

“Our report presented some extremely interesting findings, including that 62% of respondents believe they are deficient in the daily collection and analysis of construction data,” concludes Paul. “In addition, 87% of those surveyed identified CAPEX limitations as a major barrier to improving energy performance. Taking these findings into account, it is clear that senior stakeholders need to help FM personnel make the necessary OPEX cost savings, especially if we want to reduce emissions and avoid the future envisioned by the MTC.

“Indeed, while the MTC has made it clear that the industry cannot wait for government support, immediate solutions are needed to address any shortfall in net-zero targets. This includes the adoption of innovative analytics platforms that can ingest data and provide actionable insights through flaw-detection algorithms and assistance from human engineering expertise.”

To download the full report from CIM, The blind spots of energyClick here.

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