This summer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its first-ever energy efficiency ratings for corn refineries and cement plants. The new energy performance indicators (EPIs) are part of the EPA's Energy Star Industrial Focus program, aimed at boosting energy performance within leading manufacturing sectors.

Under the rating system, plants are scored on a scale from one to 100, with a score of 75 or higher recognized as “efficient.” According to the EPA, a reduction in the energy consumption in cement and corn refining industries by 3% would cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than three billion pounds and save enough electricity to power approximately 187,000 American households.

The Energy Star Industrial Focus program offers energy management tools and resources for a number of manufacturing industries. In 2005, the agency published EPIs for automobile manufacturing plants. The EPA estimates that the Energy Star Industrial Focus program saved the U.S. approximately $12 billion in energy bills in 2005 and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 23 million cars.

For additional information about the EPIs, visit www.energystar.gov/epis.