Historically, the amount of energy consumed in the United States has been astronomical. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), Americans tripled their energy consumption between 1949 and 2011. But in 2009, the economic recession lead to an opposing trend: energy consumption fell by nearly five percent. Of the four major sectors (residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation), the industrial division saw the greatest reduction.
The EIA discusses industrial energy usage, stating, “Every industry uses energy, but there are a handful of energy-intensive industries that use the bulk of the energy consumed by the industrial sector. The petroleum refining industry is the largest industrial consumer of energy, followed closely by the chemical industry.”
Furthermore, an article from the EIA was released last month explaining how the total amount of energy consumed within the manufacturing sector dropped by 17 percent between 2002 and 2010. The Administration also breaks down the sources of energy used by American manufacturers in 2006:
- “Other Sources” – 43%
- Natural Gas – 28%
- Electricity – 14%
- LPG (propane) – 11%
- Fuel Oil – 2%
- Coal – 1%
- Coke & Breeze – 1%
Also explained in the article are the two ways energy is consumed for manufacturing purposes: as a fuel or feedstock. Feedstock is classified as material that is put into the final product. “Energy consumed as a fuel includes all energy used for heat and power, regardless of where the energy was produced. Energy used as feedstock is the use of energy sources for raw material input or for any purposes other than the production of heat or power,” explained the EIA in their article.
For decades, crude oil and coal have been the main sources of energy in the U.S., but with the rise of renewable energy, this is beginning to shift. Manufacturers within the industrial sector are looking for ways to lower their energy costs as well as their carbon footprint.