Piedmont Natural Gas, a natural gas utility serving customers in the Carolinas and Tennessee for more than 60 years, may seem at first blush to have little in common with Digital Lumens, a six-year-old Boston company specializing in “intelligent” computerized LED lighting systems.
Both companies, however, are among those staking positions in an alternative-energy universe that should surge as more industries embrace the task of developing environmentally friendlier, energy-efficient supply chains.
Aiming to cut their costs and carbon footprints, companies across a wide range of industries are deploying solar panels, fuel cell technology, lower-energy lighting systems, natural gas vehicles and other technologies to make their supply chains more energy efficient.
MHI’s recently released 2014 Annual Industry Member Report – Investments That Drive Supply Chains, based on a multi-industry survey of more than 170 company executives, found that nearly 52 percent planned to invest in sustainability, primarily in energy management systems but also in batteries, chargers and motors, sustainable lighting solutions, loading dock equipment, battery-powered forklifts and alternative wind, solar, fuel cell and natural gas fuel sources.
Thirty-nine percent had no energy efficiency requirements in place, while 17 percent cited energy cost reduction and control as the biggest operational challenge.
“Consumer demand for supply chain transparency and government regulations to reduce negative environmental impact are leading companies to invest in sustainable and energy efficient solutions,” the report noted.
That’s where businesses like Piedmont Natural Gas, Digital Lumens and many others come into play.
By Dinah Wisenberg Brin