Efficiency Options for a Focus Company: Comparison and Analysis of Potential Industrial Ecology and In-House Process Change Initiatives
Browne, Ryan C.J.
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Industrial ecology is a popular option in the literature for improving the efficiency of industrial facilities, most notably through the eco-industrial park (EIP) concept. Relatively little attention has been paid to overall efficiencies achievable at the local factory scale through in-house process changes (IHPCs) - efficiency improvements that are undertaken in a factory to improve their processes, without the aid of their neighbours. This thesis compares the EIP model to IHPCs using a case study of an existing factory (the focus company) in an industrialized zone and answers the question: what are the drivers, barriers, and opportunities to encourage a promising company to participate in industrial ecology in an existing industrial cluster and how does the industrial ecology option compare with more conventional in-house environmental efficiency opportunities? An analysis of the focus company’s major operating parameters, as well as data from interviews with the focus company, the local municipality, and the local utility provider are used to compare what the literature says about the implementation of industrial ecology in a case study setting to the results found through this study. The results from this study confirm a number of the barriers to implementing industrial ecology as found in the literature, and further emphasize that improved education and a more grass roots, consultant-led committee for the local industrial site would help with the implementation of industrial ecology principles. In a general sense, EIP projects are on a larger scale than IHPCs and therefore capable of greater efficiency improvements, whereas IHPCs are easier to manage due to being internally managed initiatives. It was found that for this particular case study, EIP options seem to be limited to a collaborative energy production plan, whereas a structured IHPC plan is best for the focus company’s continued efficiency improvement. It was also found that the focus company has begun to tackle the higher hanging fruit in terms of energy efficiency, while leaving the comparably easily accessible lower hanging fruit options untouched. This leaves a myriad of low and/or no cost options to further improve the efficiency of the facility.