Ash Grove Cement Co.’s Louisville, Neb., plant won top honors in the annual Ash Grove Energy Management (AGem) Outstanding Plant of the Year competition.
“Ash Grove created the AGem program in order to improve efficiency, reduce emissions and continually look for new ways to drive sustainability in our operations,” said Andy Lippert, Ash Grove corporate energy director. “The Louisville plant went above and beyond to make energy efficiency a top priority.”
Since 2008, eight Ash Grove cement-manufacturing plants and two grinding facilities have competed to earn the annual award. Each facility is evaluated on an extensive matrix of data that is focused on energy use, efficiency and cost. The AGem process involves the entire plant workforce as well as overhead and support groups. Most suggestions to reduce energy usage and costs come from plant employees. Three years ago the process had exceeded the goal of saving $20 million in energy costs across all plants and terminals, and it continues to drive additional savings.
Each plant has its own AGem champion who coordinates the AGem activities, which include monthly meetings, idea promotion, idea solicitation and project evaluation. The AGem process partners the company with local vendors, national suppliers, utilities, energy suppliers and contractors as well as local and state governments to identify, implement, finance or develop worthy ideas. New projects since 2012 have included installation of LED lighting, variable-frequency drive motors, high-efficiency motors and more efficient processing equipment.