Engineered energy supply is critical to the textiles sector but historically it has paid scant attention to sustainability issues compared with the construction, food and water sectors of the economy (Peters et al, 2015). Hidden within complex supply chains, the intense use of electricity in spinning, weaving and wet treatment of textiles is not obvious to European consumers. But new consumer and industrial interest in sustainability manifested itself a decade ago with the proliferation of textile ecolabelling initiatives and detailed academic supply-chain analysis funded by industry (Peters and Clancy, 2014; Peters et al, 2015). Driven by this interest and the cost of energy, significant efforts have been made to implement energy efficiency measures. A landmark study by Laurence Berkeley
National Laboratory (Hasanbeigi and Price, 2012), identified 184 recent efficiency initiatives, many of which saved large proportions of the energy previously used for the textile processes, and mostly
with short financial payback periods (0.5 to 3 years). For example, better process control in dryers saved 22% of previous energy consumption, and heat recovery equipment saved 30% of energy use. The question is: are initiatives such as these are having a global effect or being overtaken by expanding consumption. Unfortunately, since most of the available data is based on individual case-studies, it is difficult to know. Another important question for policy-makers is: how important are the energy demands and consequential greenhouse emissions of the textile value chain in the global context.
Professor vid Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis
Funding Chalmers participation during 2019–
Areas of Advance