Monthly Archives: January 2012

SOTU – “The easiest way to save money is to waste less energy”

Talk about an elevator pitch…we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.  The cornerstone of SIS‘s business model and a good conservative tenet of wasting less is embodied in the President’s statement on energy efficiency retrofits…

“Of course, the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy. So here’s another proposal: Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings. Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade, and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, and more jobs for construction workers who need them. Send me a bill that creates these jobs.

Building this new energy future should be just one part of a broader agenda to repair America’s infrastructure. So much of America needs to be rebuilt. We’ve got crumbling roads and bridges. A power grid that wastes too much energy.”

Regardless of your political leanings the President’s State of the Union address had something for everyone…especially for us at SIS.  As we launched this company last year we put forth a vision…

To make US manufacturing more competitive by enabling sustainability and resource efficiency through economically viable solutions while reducing carbon emissions one factory at a time.

With that vision in hand our mission has to been…

To design fiscally responsible, environmentally intelligent solutions for industry with energy efficiency savings as the financial engine to drive sustainability.

As we listened to the address last night several other key points highlighted the tightly intertwined rationale of how we approach our company.  It was an exciting validation of our passion and hard work.  See if you recognize a trend.

“Think about the America within our reach: a country that leads the world in educating its people; an America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs; a future where we’re in control of our own energy; and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world.”

“Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward and lay out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last, an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values. This blueprint begins with American manufacturing.”

SIS shares the President’s emphasis on community college education and we are proud to work with Alamance Community College.  These energy interns are invaluable as we look for ways to improve energy efficiency in large industrial facilities while they obtain the skills to be productive contributors to the growing green collar workforce.

“Jackie Bray is a single mom from North Carolina who was laid off from her job as a mechanic. Then Siemens opened a gas turbine factory in Charlotte, and formed a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College. The company helped the college design courses in laser and robotics training. It paid Jackie’s tuition, then hired her to help operate their plant.”

We drink the innovation kool-aid at SIS and see the importance of the merging of our country’s increasing use of high tech renewable energy and retooling our manufacturing infrastructure to meet our energy needs.

“What’s true for natural gas is true for clean energy. In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries. Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled. And thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.

When Bryan Ritterby was laid off from his job making furniture, he said he worried that at 55, no one would give him a second chance. But he found work at Energetx, a wind turbine manufacturer in Michigan. Before the recession, the factory only made luxury yachts. Today, it’s hiring workers like Bryan, who said, “I’m proud to be working in the industry of the future.”

None of this will be easy.  It will be hard and at times seem an impossible challenge…but in there lies the entrepreneurial opportunity to build the next generation of great companies and build a stronger, more sustainable United States of America.

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Peak Demand Shaving

This is the second issue in a row where Building Operating Management at FacilitiesNet has highlighted an area near and dear to our hearts at SIS with the article “How Automated Demand Response Performs.”  Yet again validating our efforts in tackling this problem for our customers.

Our customers in the mid-tier manufacturing and industrial sector often don’t have the luxury of integrated building control systems but suffer greatly from utility billing structures such as coincident peak charges.  The solution is often the installation of a large dirty diesel generator that cranks up during peak demand calls from the utility.   There is often a significant CapEx or upfront cost for such a system.

We’re been working hard to create an alternative to that solution…one which is much more “sustainable” and utilizes predictive analysis to inform operational decisions that can dramatically reduce peak demand charges.   Look for this product from SIS in the near future.

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Innovation Plan for the Future – Look to the Sea

While Energy is paramount here at SIS and is what we are best at, we also know that the manufacturer’s we work with are more concerned with their products than they are with energy efficiency, so we tend to keep an eye out for sustainable new technology.  Recently, I found a couple of products that should get any manufacturer thinking: shrilk and soy based adhesive tape.

Shrilk is a “material similar in strength and toughness to aluminum alloys, but is only half the weight.” It is also extremely inexpensive to produce because it is made from discarded shrimp shells, biodegradable and biocompatible. What should be alarming to manufacturers is that it is showing serious promise as a plastic replacement.  Imagine what an easily manufacturable, petrochemical free plastic replacement would do to the marketplace.

The second product I recently came across was a soy based adhesive tape out of Oregon State University.  Professor Kaichang Li developed this product after examining mussels and attempting to mimic their ability to stay attached to slippery rocks while being battered by the ocean.   Like Shrilk this product is petrochemical free, environmentally benign, and inexpensive to make.  Most importantly to manufacturers, Dr. Li is looking to enter the $26 Billion global pressure –sensitive tape market.

Despite just being interesting these products should be terrifying to manufacturers who aren’t thinking about alternative materials because while the end of plastic isn’t here yet, the writing is on the wall.