Energy is often identified as one of the highest operating expenses. But reducing energy costs does not have to be a daunting, capital-intensive task.

Resources on energy savings for industries are numerous. For example, the US. Department of Energy's (DOE) Industrial Technologies Program has a mission of transforming the way US industry uses energy, embracing a strategy to drive a 25% reduction in industrial energy intensity by 2017. The strategy also calls for an 18% reduction in US carbon intensity by 2012. The department's website has a wealth of resources for reducing manufacturing energy costs.

As a key element of the program's Save Energy Now effort, DOE conducts energy assessments to help manufacturing facilities of all types across the nation identify immediate opportunities to save energy and money. In the last two years, many companies working in partnership with DOE have already benefited from taking part in assessments. On average, each large plant assessment yields potential savings of $2.5 million. Implementing measures could help save 10% or more per year on energy bills, not to mention productivity improvements and avoided carbon emissions.