Energy crisis: how companies are fighting waste


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

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

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

If everyone does not take their part, (…) we will have to impose reductions in consumption”, she warned. And “if we were to come to rationing, businesses would be the first to be affected”.

To do this, companies are multiplying initiatives to chase away small and large waste. Overview 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 says it has 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 undertaken to turn off their illuminated signs from October 15 when stores close, to reduce the light intensity before arrival of the public and lower the ambient temperature of the points of sale by one degree. These daily measures represent 6% savings on the energy bill. Leclerc, in particular, started on September 12.

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

This protocol is extended to other businesses. For the moment in non-food, the temperature at 17 degrees does not pass, because of the fitting rooms, but “if it’s for two hours and to avoid a general blackout during a peak, it must to be able to think about themselves”, emphasizes Perifem.

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


The specter of gas cuts 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 the application of anti-corrosion on the vehicles and the installation of solar panels on five hectares in the parking lots. Such a measure makes it possible to achieve 10% energy savings, calculated Toyota.

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 gained “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, is continuing its efforts this winter. To save gas from its tire ovens, the group is developing renewables 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 go beyond 19 degrees”, and will even fall to 17 degrees in workshops where “physical effort” is produced.

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

Veolia lowers the temperature of its premises and measures the consumption of each waste collection depot and each truck to identify corrective measures and deploy fuel-efficient driving training.


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 the reliefs. This makes it possible to reduce energy consumption by up to 10% “without reducing (the) speed and therefore without penalizing travelers”, notes the Ministry of Transport. the SNCF is also hunting down waste in industrial and tertiary buildings, installing LED lamps on a large scale and playing on 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, reacting to rumors about removing trains to save energy.

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