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NEMA First-Phase Carbon Footprint Report Now Available for Member Review

09/7/2012 2:00PMSign-up to receive press releases.

NEMA members can now view the report outlining activities and findings from the first phase of the NEMA Carbon Footprint Strategic Initiative. The report, “Exploration into the Environmental Assessment of Electrical Products—Phase I: Method Development for Carbon Footprint Assessment as Applied to Motor and Lighting Products,” was produced by Materials Systems Laboratory at MIT, NEMA’s technical contractor for the project.

This strategic initiative represents an industry response to increased global attention on anthropogenic carbon emissions associated with manufactured products. Public opinion on the rise in atmospheric carbon levels may remain unsettled, but government mandates and market pressures have led to a growing trend towards assessing and disclosing a product’s “carbon footprint.”

Assessing a carbon footprint, however, whether defined for a product, process, facility, or activity, can be a costly, data-intensive, time-consuming endeavor. Electrical products are inherently complex, so NEMA member companies seeking to explore the issue themselves face a significant burden. This project was undertaken to devise a harmonized method for NEMA members to use to characterize the factors that influence greenhouse gas impacts of electrical products and systems. As presented in the first phase report, the project first focused on developing the basic methodology and applying it to initial “focal products”–energy efficient lamps and AC induction motors.

Phase II of the project is in progress and will initially involve applying the methodology to another set of focal products. Ultimately, the methodology will be integrated into a high level guidance document for broader application within the electrical product sector.

NEMA is the association of electrical equipment and medical imaging manufacturers, founded in 1926 and headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. Its member companies manufacture a diverse set of products including power transmission and distribution equipment, lighting systems, factory automation and control systems, and medical diagnostic imaging systems. Worldwide annual sales of NEMA-scope products exceed $120 billion.

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