As we’ve chronicled in our energy “treasure hunt” stories, GE teams are constantly scouring the company’s offices and factories for measurable ways to save water and energy and reduce emissions as part of our ecomagination initiative. So far, about 200 internal treasure hunts have already contributed to savings of over $130 million and the reduction of over 250,000 metric tons of CO2. That process, which is based on a continuous improvement concept created by Toyota, is now part of a new “ecomagination Treasure Hunt” program that GE has launched in collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund to help unearth similar savings at cities, universities, and in private industry. Through Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s “Hospital Challenge” — in which 13 of New York City’s largest hospital systems are working together to lower their overall energy footprint — Roosevelt Hospital became the new program’s first site. The hunt identified opportunities for $2.1 million in energy savings with a payback of 2.6 years — which translates into over 7,500 metric tons of emissions being reduced annually. In the video below, Stephen Monez explains how his hospital’s team began its initial work with GE.
Other partners in the initial rollout of the program are the City of Orlando, Florida; Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport; and the University of Illinois. As part of GE’s collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund, the non-profit group is helping GE select sites and explore new ways to share best practices from the treasure hunts more widely across different industries. As Gwen Ruta, EDF vice president for Corporate Partnerships, said: “Trillions of dollars in energy savings are up for grabs in the United States” and the new partnership is “making it possible for cities and towns, hospitals and universities and businesses of all sizes to ferret out the valuable energy treasure buried in their own backyards.”
The new program comes as GE just marked the 5th anniversary of ecomagination by announcing that it is doubling its initial R&D technology investment — which was $5 billion in the initiative’s first years — by investing another $10 billion through 2015. Added Steve Fludder, GE’s vice president of ecomagination: “Extending our Treasure Hunts to external partners and helping them reduce costs and save energy is a logical next step for GE.”
The work at Continuum Health Partners’ Roosevelt Hospital relied on the same type of process GE uses internally. In the hunts, team leaders work with onsite staff to apply technology expertise and process improvement tools to identify, quantify and recommend enhancements to sources of energy waste — including electricity, natural gas, water, wastewater, compressed air and steam. The video below, taken during a GE Healthcare treasure hunt at our plant in Wisconsin last year, shows how the process works.
* Read today’s announcement
* Learn more about ecomagination Treasure Hunts
* Visit the ecomagination website
* Learn more about EDF
* Learn more about Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative and challenges
* Read more ecomagination stories on GE Reports
* Read “How GE’s ‘Treasure Hunts’ Discovered More Than $110M in Energy Savings”
* Read “On the hunt for sunken treasure at GE” on GE Reports
* Read “Hunting for energy treasures in Cincinnati” on GE Reports
* Read “Finding energy savings in unlikely places” on GE Reports