How Can Smart Grid Integration Make Manufacturing More Eco-Friendly?

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manufacturing facility powered by the smart grid

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Eco-friendly manufacturing practices rely on smart technology and grid modernization. People interested in sustainability must pay attention and contribute to industrial and societal changes as much as those within the sector. 

Green industry advances with data analytics and energy-efficient manufacturing because of their synergy with smart grids. Integrating the smart grid with manufacturing is the bridge between the productivity and financial savings sector leaders want for more sustainable futures.

How Manufacturers Use Smart Grids

Energy-efficient manufacturing is the most apparent way to leverage what smart technology offers. Nations hold onto antiquated grid systems because of their historical reliability and inexpensiveness. An overhaul for countries and manufacturers is expensive and mentally strenuous. The current electrical grid in America is quickly aging with minimal scaling options as citizens’ energy consumption will increase an estimated 41% by 2030. 

The current grid needs to be resilient against modern climate challenges, further jeopardizing manufacturing efficiency. Manufacturers use smart grids to automate limitless scaling to energy and consumer needs. A smart grid ensures no excess energy overwhelms transmissions, and businesses have access to power they need when in high demand. Engineers equip smart grids with sensors, control panels, and meters for real-time data collection. 

The numbers inform eco-friendly manufacturing practices and goal prioritization. Analytics demonstrate where labor and financial resources would garner the most impactful results for green manufacturing. It could be for upgrading legacy technologies or incorporating eco-conscious monitoring of pollutants or heat recovery. It will also lead to upskilling workers to prepare for up-and-coming technologies. Integration is the ideal excuse to spend time on training.

The efforts blend well with renewable energy management. Manufacturers could use smart grid capabilities to become distributed energy resources, generating and giving back to the grid that had previously served them for decades. It mitigates their impact on the environment, which has historically been unkind. 

windmill on grassy hill with sunset in the background

How Eco-Friendly Manufacturing Practices Look

Smart grids will regulate the manufacturing industry’s energy use to prevent waste. The constant awareness of environmental impact promotes smart usage of energy-intensive processes. It is like having an auditor always on-site without the fear of failing an examination. 

Are machines using too much power in idle modes, and can operators have training to shut them down when not in use? Will preventive maintenance keep machines working better for longer, reducing how much strain and power they need to perform?

Analytics show where the most prominent energy users are, outlining where to invest environmental funds. It means the essential long-term green implementations happen immediately, compounding the impact of smaller shifts later in a manufacturer’s green journey. 

For example, Universal Protective Packaging Incorporated makes thermoformed plastic packaging. The campus runs 24/7, requiring a lot of lighting and energy. Smart sensors and a change in lighting became their top priority in contributing to energy efficiency and becoming more eco-friendly. 

The manufacturer saved over 230,000 kWh annually, over 68,000 square feet. Transitions like this motivate the sector to move to data-driven solutions and focus on alleviating stress on a national grid in mid-development. 

city skyline from above at dusk

How Smart Grids Solidify a Sustainable Future

The most sector-critical reason to implement the smart grid into manufacturing is because of its global influence. Manufacturing is no longer insular and has not been for a long time. E-commerce, cloud infrastructure and advances in the shipping industry have made international manufacturing the norm. 

Advancements standardize environmentally aware manufacturing by forcing regulatory bodies to adjust grid-related compliance frameworks. Some Energy Policy and Conservation Act standards are from 1975 and only received an update for greener codes in 2020, with enforceable compliance in 2025. Compliance covers everything from how green a product is, where materials are sourced, how robust cybersecurity is, and when carbon-friendly metrics must be met.

The fluidity is crucial for prioritizing eco-friendly manufacturing practices because it impacts the entire planet, even if it is just one business in one country. Every system empowering the smart grid uses energy, too. They require management, oversight, and energy management. Knowing how a manufacturer uses resources is critical for the dispersal of energy throughout an entire smart grid. Manufacturing with smart grids creates a limitless supply of information. 

Every kilowatt equates to valuable, applicable data to use for future generations. Smart grids solidify manufacturing’s sustainable future because they have a constantly updating data well that keeps them up to date on performance, sustainability and productivity of eco-friendly measures. Administrators view the numbers, learn from them and spread education across borders and other smart grids, whether national or micro-grid.

Eco-Friendly Manufacturing Made Possible With Smart Grids

Smart grid technology contributes to eco-friendly manufacturing by reducing waste and energy consumption. Data highlights where manufacturers must place efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses. It matters in the short term while formulating safe, eco-friendly habits for the long term. It transforms the workforce and realigns business models to become more sustainable so the planet can achieve global development goals.

  • Emily Newton

    Emily Newton is a freelance writer with over six years of experience writing environmental articles. She’s also the Editor-In-Chief of Revolutionized, an online magazine sharing the latest science and technology innovations. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading a new book or building a Lego set.

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