Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Economy, Energy, and Environment (E3) and Pollution Prevention (P2)

What is E3?

E3 is a multi-agency, interdisciplinary technical assistance program aimed at increasing the economic, energy, and environmental efficiency and sustainability of our manufacturers. Begun as a pilot project in 2009, E3 seeks to bring the talents and resources of diverse federal and state agencies to improve manufacturing efficiency and lower manufacturing costs by reducing pollution and energy intensity. Companies looking to participate in Idaho’s E3 program will partner with DEQ, Tech Help (Idaho’s manufacturing extension partnership), and other state agencies to develop a thorough audit of energy use, waste and other pollution generation, and employ opportunities for increasing production efficiency.


E3 seeks to increase the efficiency and competitiveness of the manufacturing industry through Lean Manufacturing. Lean manufacturing is a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste (non-value added activities or activities a customer would not be willing to pay for) through continuous improvement (an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes) by producing the product at the pull of the customer (to reduce large inventories) in pursuit of perfection (or minimizing defects). In the U.S., lean implementation is rapidly expanding throughout diverse manufacturing and service sectors such as aerospace, automotive, electronics, furniture production, and health care as a core business strategy to create a competitive advantage.

Lean focuses on reducing eight types of waste represented by the word DOWNTIME:

Non-Value Added Processing
Inventory (Excess)
Motion (Excess)
Employee Knowledge, Skills & Abilities (Not used)

Transforming to a lean operation leads to new ways of thinking and doing from the shop floor to the executive corps.


E3 seeks to increase the energy efficiency of the manufacturing industry through a comprehensive energy audit designed to reduce energy consumption without decreasing value added in the production process. The energy audit portion of E3l looks specifically to where energy intensity might be decreased, either through behavioral changes or capital improvements. Among other things, the energy audit identifies challenges or inefficiencies in

  • Building lighting
  • Compressed air systems
  • Heating systems/waste heat recapture
  • Mechanical systems
  • Behavioral processes
  • Building envelope
  • Space conditioning and ventilation

Reduced energy consumption will have the secondary effect of reducing pollution and reducing manufacturing costs, either through reductions in fuel consumption or electrical consumption. All energy audits are specifically tailored to the needs and challenges facing individual manufacturing companies,


E3 seeks to reduce the manufacturing industry’s impact on the environment through pollution prevention. Pollution prevention, or P2, involves a systematic approach to eliminating waste at the source by optimizing use and selection of resources and technologies while lessening the impact on the environment.

P2 strives for:

Non-toxic substitutes
Optimized raw material use
Water use and wastewater reductions
Air emission reductions
Solid and hazardous waste reductions
Transport packaging optimization
Energy efficiency

E3 - How Disciplines Work Together

While the goal of pollution prevention and an energy audit is not to increase production efficiency per se, and the goal of lean manufacturing is not to minimize environmental wastes per se, all three disciplines tend to arrive at the same, or at least consistent, end results, observes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Lean strategies can often coincidentally benefit the environment as a result of production-focused efforts. Similarly, enhanced production efficiency and cost reductions often result from pollution prevention and energy efficiency efforts.

Therefore, significant opportunities exist within many business processes (manufacturing and others) to consciously integrate the approaches of E3 to:

  • Reduce overhead and manufacturing costs
  • Improve efficiency and optimize raw material use
  • Eliminate waste through reducing rework and defects
  • Reduce environmental footprint and supply chain vulnerability
  • Improve worker safety and reduce regulatory risk
  • Meet customer expectations while attaining a competitive position in the green global marketplace