Energy Efficiency Gives Legrand A Competitive Edge

Editor’s Note: EarthTechling is proud to repost this article courtesy of Alliance to Save Energy. Author credit goes to Francesca Wahl.

Operating in a 100-year-old facility amid some of the highest energy prices in the country, global electrical equipment maker and building infrastructure specialist Legrand relies on innovative ways to remain a cost-competitive manufacturer.

Knowing that energy efficiency would contribute to the company’s ability to stay competitive, Legrand joined the Better Buildings Better Plants Challenge in early 2011. Since then, Legrand has made huge strides in reducing energy intensity, while also meeting the bottom line.

Better Buildings Program Targets Lower Energy Intensity

The Department of Energy (DOE)’s Better Buildings Better Plants Challenge requires companies to sign a voluntary pledge to lower energy intensity by 25% by 2020. Participating companies must establish a baseline to track changes in energy intensity, create an energy data report to monitor annual progress, and designate a corporate energy manager to develop an energy management plan.


image via Legrand

Legrand committed 14 of its U.S. facilities to the 2020 target, and set an additional goal of reducing energy intensity by 10% over two years in its headquarters in West Hartford, Conn.  Thus far, Legrand’s 14 U.S. factories overall are at a 20.2% reduction in energy intensity (compared to the 2009 baseline). Meanwhile, the West Hartford headquarters and its 550 employees have achieved a 7.4% reduction in energy intensity.

Legrand Maximizes Energy & Cost Savings

By implementing cross-cutting efficiency measures focused on people, process, and technology, Legrand has saved over 1 million kWh and an estimated $150,000 annually with little to no upfront cost, and payback periods of three years or less.  The types of energy efficiency improvements undertaken so far include:

  • Kaizen Events, which are internal, no-cost brainstorming sessions where employees generate innovative problem-solving ideas and then implement a solution. One idea was increasing insulation to paint line ovens (which cure materials) and adding a shift change during this process. The idea saved 1 million gallons of water and 537,000 kWh – enough electricity to power 48 U.S. homes.
  • Turn it off sticker campaign, which allows employees to see whether or not a machine can be powered off when not in use. Employee awareness and engagement is a significant element of Legrand’s energy management strategy.
  • Air leak audits, which allow for immediate corrective action when the factory’s compressed air system is not functioning properly. Annual savings have reached 300,000 kWh and $44,440.

Each of these actions to reduce energy consumption, no matter how large or small, have proven to be cost effective, while positively impacting Legrand’s bottom line and competitiveness.

Keeping it Local: Energy Efficiency Investments

Using energy efficiency to help alleviate the impact of Connecticut’s high energy prices has played a role in Legrand’s ability to operate as a cost-competitive manufacturer within the state and continue to spur investment and economic growth in the local economy. Connecticut, as a whole, has consistently ranked at the top when it comes to successful energy efficiency policies and programs, helping business thrive in the state despite the high cost of using energy. Most recently, Connecticut has established the nation’s first full-scale “green bank” – Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority – which will drive investment in clean energy deployment and energy efficiency for businesses and consumers through leveraging public and private funds.

Additional Resources on Legrand & Manufacturing Efficiency

The Alliance to Save Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes energy efficiency worldwide through research, education and advocacy. We encourage business, government, environmental and consumer leaders to use energy efficiency as a means to achieve a healthier economy, a cleaner environment and greater energy security.

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