Energy crisis: how companies are fighting against waste

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published on Sunday, September 18, 2022 at 07:00

Although the executive has warned that in case of rationing the companies would be the first affected, the latter are multiplying initiatives to save gas and electricity.

Given the risks of cuts and rationing this winter, the executive calls for energy sobriety for everyone, and in particular for companies. “I call on each (one of the companies) to establish, in September, their own sobriety plan,” Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne launched in her back-to-school speech.

If everyone does not do their part, (…) we will have to impose reductions in consumption”, he warned. And “if we were to ration, the companies would be the first affected.”

To do this, companies multiply initiatives to drive away small and large waste. Summary of initiatives.


Fleury-Michon builds photovoltaic shade structures in the car parks of all its factories. “This will shade the summer and allow us to produce part of our electricity consumption,” says the group, which claims to have reduced its consumption of Kwh per kilo of product by 30% in ten years.


All the food brands -Carrefour, Intermarché, U system, Auchan, Casino and Leclerc- have committed to turning off their illuminated signs from October 15 when the stores close, to reduce the light intensity before the arrival of the public and lower the ambient temperature of the premises. outlets to a degree. These daily measures represent a saving of 6% on the energy bill. Leclerc, in particular, started on September 12.

When it is going to be very cold, in case of peak energy demand, exceptional measures have been proposed, such as lowering the temperature to 17 degrees during opening hours, which allows a “reduction of 740 MW” or “a small nuclear power plant” , emphasizes the technical distribution federation Perifem.

This protocol extends to other businesses. At the moment the temperature does not exceed 17 degrees, because of the testers, but “if it is for two hours and to avoid a general blackout at a peak, they have to be able to think about themselves.” , emphasizes Perifem.

Second major initiative, the installation of glass doors on the shelves of refrigerated products, which reduces the energy bill by 25%. The process is still underway: 70% of distributors are equipped, but there is still 30% that need to be. The cost of the installation – around one million euros for a medium-sized store – makes those who have not yet taken action doubt it.


The specter of gas outages this winter is accelerating the race for solutions: heat recovery, switching to LED lighting, or installing solar panels.

Thus, the Toyota plant in Onnaing has two projects: the recovery of heat from the compressors to heat the surface treatment baths before applying anticorrosives to the vehicles and the installation of solar panels on five hectares of car parks. Such a measure allows to achieve energy savings of 10%, Toyota calculated.

The Saint-Jean Industrie aluminum foundry (Belleville-en-Beaujolais) recovers the heat from its furnaces to heat an entire sector of the plant. Since the end of 2021, the group has earned “between 10 and 15%” in electricity and gas, especially by monitoring its consumption in real time.

Michelin, which reduced its energy consumption by 18% between 2010 and 2021, continues its efforts this winter. To save gas from its tire kilns, the group is developing renewable energies and, in particular, biomass boilers (in Cholet and Bourges), photovoltaics (in Puy-en-Velay) and buying biomass heat (in Vannes and Clermont- Ferrand).

In Troyes and Bassens, the group also buys heat, but from the incineration of household waste. In addition, this winter the heating temperature of offices and workshops “will not exceed 19 degrees”, and will even drop to 17 degrees in workshops where “physical effort” occurs.

The group also has an insulation plan for its tertiary sites, installs LEDs in its workshops and in the exterior lighting of its research center.

Veolia lowers the temperature of its facilities and measures the consumption of each waste collection tank and each truck to identify corrective measures and deploy training in efficient driving.


The SNCF, a large consumer of electricity, has intensified its actions for several months by emphasizing “eco-driving”, a more flexible technique for driving trains, for example by taking advantage of reliefs. This allows energy consumption to be reduced by up to 10% “without reducing (the) speed and therefore without penalizing passengers,” says the Ministry of Transport. SNCF is also hunting waste in industrial and tertiary buildings, installing LED lamps on a large scale and playing with the lighting and heating of stations.

But, energy sobriety, at SNCF, RATP and other transport operators, “this is not a plan to make fewer trains, even this winter”, assured the Minister of Transport, Clément Beaune, in reaction to rumors about the elimination of trains to save energy.

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