Iconic guitar manufacturer significantly improves the energy performance of its facilities

Anyone strumming a guitar thinks of the music not the energy performance. But making guitars is a business. To reduce its costs and to reduce its carbon footprint, the iconic Martin Guitars embarked on a major effort to undertake efficiency upgrades. Kurt Bresswein on the Lehigh Valley Live website in the US describes the good results.


How Martin Guitar cut its factory energy use by 27 percent

The Lehigh Valley-based maker of iconic Martin Guitars is meeting the needs of professional and amateur musicians alike with significantly less energy these days.

C.F. Martin & Co. last week was recognized for its efficiency upgrades by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Founded in 1833 and continuously family-owned and -operated for six generations, Martin Guitar is a partner in DOE’s Better Plants Challenge. As part of that, the company committed two years ago to improving its energy performance across all its United States operations by 25 percent with 10 years.

That challenge has been met at its flagship plant outside Nazareth.

Through an investment of more than $8 million, Martin Guitar has cut electricity use by 46 percent and natural gas consumption by 20 percent since November 2016. These savings translate into a 27 percent improvement in energy intensity at the plant and more than $500,000 in reduced annual energy costs, according to the DOE.

Department officials joined Martin Guitar in celebrating the savings last Monday.

“Manufacturing competitiveness is a key goal of this administration,” Daniel Simmons, principal deputy assistant secretary in the department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, said in a statement. “Through the DOE’s Better Plants program, manufacturers like C.F. Martin are using energy more productivity, creating jobs and driving economic growth.”

At the heart of Martin Guitar’s upgrades is a state-of-the-art central hot/chilled water plant that replaced its aging distributed HVAC systems, according to the DOE. The Trane system boasts three water-cooled centrifugal chillers (each with a capacity of 500 tons) and three high-efficiency condensing boilers (each with a capacity of 1 million BTUs).

Additional benefits include $150,000 in reduced annual maintenance costs, greater system reliability and — perhaps most importantly for a guitar manufacturer — accurate temperature and humidity control.

The DOE recognized Martin Guitar as a Better Plants Goal Achiever in its 2018 Better Buildings Challenge Progress Report.

Nearly 200 manufacturers are participating in the Better Plants program nationwide. To date, these partners have saved $4.2 billion in cumulative energy costs, the DOE says.

Through the program, DOE says it provides partners with a broad range of no-cost tools, training and resources to help identify opportunities to save energy and improve competitiveness.


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