Nazareth, Pennsylvania-based Martin Guitar was recognized by the Department of Energy (DOE) on June 4, 2018, for rapidly and successfully improving energy efficiency. The famed guitar maker slashed its electricity use and natural gas consumption after making a nearly $9 million energy efficiency investment in 2016.
The improvements were made as part of the DOE’s Better Plants Challenge. Manufacturers who participate in the challenge as partners vow to boost energy efficiency by 25% over a decade. Martin Guitar pulled it off in just 2 years.
In a news release, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) at DOE Daniel Simmons said:
“Through the DOE’s Better Plants program, manufacturers like C.F. Martin are using energy more productively, creating jobs, and driving economic growth.”
Martin Guitar speedily achieved that goal by placing its old HVAC systems with an updated Central Hot/Chilled Water Plant. The company invested $8.85 million to outfit its 200,000 square-foot central plant with a plate and frame heat exchanger installed as a waterside economizer. 
The main components of the plant are comprised of 3 high-efficiency condensing boilers and 3 water-cooled centrifugal chillers to allow the company to better control the temperature in the plant.
Fred Everett of Martin Guitar explained:
“We had some very, very old equipment that was inefficient, so the state-of-the-art investment allowed us to create air conditioning, to do humidity control in our manufacturing facility for about 70 percent less kilowatts per ton.” 
The company is already reaping the benefits of its investment. The plant slashed natural gas consumption by 20% and electric use by 46%, which was better than it was expecting to do. Overall, Martin accomplished a 27% reduction in energy intensity.
In addition, Martin Guitar saved $500,000 in yearly energy costs and $150,000 in yearly maintenance costs. The new plant also makes it easier for the manufacturer to control humidity and temperature, which is vital for the production of guitars.
Martin Guitar will now be able to encourage the 200 other manufacturers enrolled in the program and share what it learned with them.
“To get that information, make sure other companies see the good work they are doing and are able to replicate it.”
So far, Better Plants partners have saved $4.2 billion in energy costs. The partners include 1,800 plants, accounting for 8% of the U.S. manufacturing footprint. Some big names have joined the program, including General Motors, Raytheon, and PepsiCo.
The DOE provides the partners with the resources, tools, and training they need to find ways to save energy and implement those methods.
Maria Vargas, director of the DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge, said:
“They are not only sharing their energy savings but what they invested in and why. There’s so much manufacturers can share across their facilities. That’s why having those leaders share that story is important.” 
In case you’ve never heard of Martin guitars, they’ve been a big favorite among musicians for years, including Ed Sheeran, Mumford & Sons, Elvis, Willie Nelson, and Kurt Cobain.