Case study: cutting energy use in Chinese factories

May 5, 2016
IIP piloted energy management systems in three big industrial enterprises in Yunnan Province, China, with excellent results.
The launch of the project at Luoping Zinc and Electricity.


In 2015-16, IIP worked with three energy-intensive factories in Yunnan Province, China, helping them to implement an energy management system (EnMS) and cut their energy use.

The pilot project, which ran from August 2015 to April 2016, resulted in around 30,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases being avoided across the three pilot facilities.

The three companies were Zexin Aluminum Company, which has more than 1,000 employees; Dachunshu Cement Company, which produces 1.2 million tons of cement clinker and 1.5 million tons of cement per year; and Luoping Zinc and Electricity Company, a state-owned enterprise that does lead and zinc mining and smelting, hydropower generation, and sulfur and phosphorus chemical production. Luoping alone made energy savings of around 800,000 kWh between August 2015 and January 2016 as a result of the project, amounting to savings of around RMB 320,000 (US$49,200) in just five months.

One of the key factors in the project’s success was the development of a simple but effective methodology for implementing EnMS in the pilot facilities. This was a response to the fact that many Chinese enterprises associate EnMS with excessive paperwork. As they have been required to implement EnMS by the Chinese Government, industrial enterprises meticulously follow the rules for the development of documents but, without the capability to implement them, they aren’t able to reap the benefits.

The benefits of EnMS are significant for both individual companies and China as a whole. Yunnan Province alone has 399 enterprises that are large enough to classify as a “Top-10,000 Enterprise” and they consumed a total of around 58 million tons of coal equivalent (tce) of energy in 2014. If they all implemented an effective energy management system, they could save at least 4.6 million tce per year, while the whole of China could save 184 million tce annually. 

For more detail on the results of the pilot, the key lessons learned, and the challenges we had to overcome to ensure successful implementation of EnMS, please read our case study