Many companies set reduction goals in absolute numbers: ‘Reduce consumption by 20 GWh by 2020 compared to 2010.’ Though absolute metric is easy to track, aiming for it may limit business growth. The same trouble happens with measuring reduction in %% of absolute numbers. Measuring energy use reduction in %% of sales is fogged by profit margin variations.
3M has set reduction goals as percentage of the value predicted by regression-based baseline specific to each plant.
In effect, each plant competes with itself in energy intensity reduction. Each plant is different. Each plant manufactures its unique set of SKUs. Competition with itself is the only way actual efficiency changes can be registered. In my opinion, this approach manifests the bold commitment to integration of energy efficiency and business.
This is hardly the simplest method, but 3M is hardly a simple company. Use of baseline method supports core business: if plant increases production, it is not penalized for extra energy use. In fact, aiming for energy efficiency often leads to higher asset utilisation, lower stoppages, and higher production throughput. On the other hand, decreased production does not contribute to energy savings either.