Smart Energy Voices- Episode 63

Smart Energy Voices- Episode 63

Mohawk's Decarbonization Journey

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In this episode of Smart Energy Voices, host John Failla introduces Scott Bargerstock of Mohawk Industries, the opening keynote speaker from Smart Energy Decisions’ recent Innovation Summit. As Director of Manufacturing, Productivity, and Global Energy, Scott shares his insights on how he is building the green bridge with Mohawk Industries’ efforts to decarbonize and save money without a formal net-zero goal.


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Building the green bridge [01:55]
  • Scott’s work at Mohawk [03:35]
  • Managing ESG expectations [05:03]
  • Making the best of high natural gas prices [08:16]
  • Surprising benefits of infrared [10:26]
  • Innovation is what moved the industry [18:08]

Mohawk’s energy challenges

 Mohawk Industries is a large manufacturer, and therefore a large consumer of energy. The challenge the company has is that thermal dominates over electric. Mohawk is the world’s largest ceramic tile manufacturer, and making tile without natural gas is nearly impossible. The company is looking into alternative options, with the thermal side being the greater challenge.

Since Scott has been with Mohawk, the company has put five megawatts of combined heat and power at a plant in Tennessee, and one of its Italian plants is putting in a 10 megawatt third-party supply system. In Italy, the company has created about 10 million square feet of industrial LED retrofits. Additionally, the company’s carpet side uses a large amount of steam in its boiler controls and is figuring out how to do that more efficiently.

Finding support for improvements

Fortunately, the power and natural gas events that have occurred since July of last year have helped Mohawk become a more mature company relative to energy consumption. While there’s no way to get away from ESG expectations,many of Mohawk’s products don’t have customers who expect sustainable solutions. The company has to start by figuring out how to make and manage sustainability commitments for a modest number of products and expand that across the whole company portfolio.

The increase in the cost of gas has caused many consumers and companies to become hyper-focused on finding ways to reduce costs. Mohawk is trying to take this opportunity to support the available efficiency options. A lot of the challenge is at the plant level and trying to make more product with less energy. Mohawk uses a metric showing how much energy is used to make a unit of measure of a product to see trends in production. The amount of energy used has reduced for the first time below where it was in 2019.

Innovation is about the little changes

Innovation is what the energy industry does every day to become a little better, faster, and a bit more profitable. Leaders need to keep their eyes open for ideas that can be adapted to different situations. Being an innovator takes a lot of courage. Sometimes it means taking a different approach than the rest of the team, and sometimes that’s the right path. There’s no reason to wait to be great. All that’s left is to evolve the plan, maintain the course, and reevaluate the plan from time to time.

Involving the whole team is strongly encouraged. Getting everyone on board ahead of time diminishes internal resistance, helps with additional ideas, and provides additional backup and impetus when making a tough decision. Involving and motivating each other is something that can inspire anyone to innovate. Focusing on a series of minor changes will result in success.

Resources & People Mentioned:

Connect with Scott Bargerstock

With a widely diverse industrial manufacturing background as a senior engineer or manager, followed by almost 20 years in facility/maintenance management roles with several firms, Scott has served as managing lead engineer for new technology and capital projects in addition to successfully implementing his certified lean practitioner training at multiple firms. Industries include naval shipyard work, heavy fabrication, machining, heat treating, foundry, melting, printing, and publishing also spent several years at a nuclear power plant site followed by the direction of a profit center for two companies supplying nationwide technical services serving the nuclear power industry. This experience preceded almost twenty years of maintenance and facility management experience. Scott earned his BS in Materials Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, holding a PE for Metallurgical Engineering within the state of Tennessee.

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