How to Make a Sustainable Plant

March 3, 2011
Why Is Sustainability Important? If You Want Your Plant to Continue Operating, It Must Become More Efficient Than It Already Is
By Walt Boyes, Editor in Chief

In this space we talk about how to get around the increasingly complex digital world we live in. We point to interesting things on, and we often provide tips and advice on how to use the latest and greatest Internet apps.

On the Web

Automate to Control Energy Costs
Leverage existing automation assets to measure and monitor energy consumption by individual loads, machines and lines.

How GM Controls Energy Costs
GM has augmented its automation software solution to control the lights and other big energy-consuming equipment.

This month, I want to introduce you to another great resource that has just launched. It is called and is directed by Paul Studebaker, who was my predecessor here at Control and The management and staff of our company, Putman Media, met for several months debating what our next venture would be, and we determined that there needed to be a place, a portal and a clearinghouse of information, conversation and ideas about applying the principles of sustainability to operating manufacturing plants. And so was born! has all the articles and information on sustainability that have appeared in any of the Putman magazines or websites, including Control and But that’s not all. Studebaker and his staff have assembled a continuously updated multimedia center that includes a video on Procter and Gamble building its first wind turbine, testing for steam trap failure and much, much more, including a video essay called "Winning the Future with Renewable Energy," by President Obama.

White Papers

New EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations
What the Changes Mean for You. There is an upside for forward-thinking manufacturers in the EPA blueprint for how greenhouse gas emissions are to be regulated.

Eco-Efficiency Analysis Methodology
Here’s a model for performing an eco-efficiency analysis to be validated under the requirements of NSF Protocol P352.

Why is sustainability important? If you want your plant to continue operating, it must become more efficient than it already is. It isn’t enough anymore to just make the processes more efficient. You need to make the entire plant operate more efficiently in its use of resources, especially energy. This is what it is going to take to make American manufacturing competitive and allow it once again to take its place as the most productive manufacturing establishment in the world.

There are still lots of "low-hanging fruit" projects that process plants can undertake, and gives you sensible advice on what they are and how to do them, based on the experiences of plants like yours that have already done some of them. Some of them are directly related to process control and automation too. For example, General Mills found it could save over $6 million per year just by hooking the plant lighting and HVAC systems into its DCS and running lighting, heating and cooling the same way they would if they were processes to control…which of course they are. also has a series of daily enewsletters that focus on creating sustainability in the plant environment, and a virtual conference is planned for later this year.

So join the community at and help contribute to the rebirth of American manufacturing.