Wake up daily to our latest coverage of business done better, directly in your inbox.


Get your weekly dose of analysis on rising corporate activism.

Select Newsletter

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy. You can opt out anytime.

Andrew Burger headshot

Six-Month Payback for Defense Contractor's SEP-ISO 50001 Energy Efficiency Upgrade


Reducing energy use by increasing energy efficiency is viewed as one of the most effective, least costly and simplest ways of boosting businesses' bottom lines, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions to address the global threat of rapid climate change. International organizations, such as the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM)-International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) partnership and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), in concert with the U.S. federal government's Superior Energy Performance (SEP) program, are helping business in the U.S. and around the world do just that.

The first U.S. defense contractor to earn the Department of Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office's SEP Gold Certified Partner certification (sustainable energy savings of 10 to 15 percent) and comply with ISO 50001 energy efficiency standards, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS), improved energy performance at its ammunition plant in Scranton, Pa. by 11.9 percent by implementing an energy management system.

Reducing BTUs and kilowatt-hours in manufacturing

Investing $255,000 to implement the energy management system, the GD-OTS plant has reduced energy use by some 197 billion BTUs (113,000 GJ), which translates into annual energy bill savings of some $956,000. That's a marginal payback of just six months based solely on the operational cost savings realized, according to a Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership Energy Management Working Group (GSP EMWG) case study.

General Dynamics' senior plant manager, Joe Chup, talked about the benefits of working with the SEP framework and making use of the energy efficiency standards and process of continual improvement therein:

“Superior Energy Performance helps to track and prove ‘without a doubt’ payback of projects. Project energy savings are based on actual data, as opposed to opinions.”

A process of sustained, continual improvement

As a result, General Dynamics is now managing the plant’s energy resources proactively, employing “a rigorous business system to sustain those energy savings and continue strengthening plant energy performance in the future.

Added General Dynamics' sustainability manager and environmental engineer Stephen Cannizzaro,

“SEP brought to light many energy intensity savings opportunities that were previously hard to justify. With the energy management system in place and metering instruments installed, it is much easier to justify improvement projects, and management is more receptive to these proposals.”

Looking to build on its success to date, General Dynamics has signed on as a member of the SEP Accelerator program, “pledging to move multiple plants toward SEP certification to demonstrate the enterprise-wide benefits of energy management systems.”

Charts, tables credit: General Dynamics/DOE SEP

Andrew Burger headshotAndrew Burger

An experienced, independent journalist, editor and researcher, Andrew has crisscrossed the globe while reporting on sustainability, corporate social responsibility, social and environmental entrepreneurship, renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology. He studied geology at CU, Boulder, has an MBA in finance from Pace University, and completed a certificate program in international governance for biodiversity at UN University in Japan.

Read more stories by Andrew Burger

More stories from Leadership & Transparency