Energy-efficiency measures at the Mexican Maquiladoras

  • Nora Munguia University of Sonora
  • Luis Velazquez University of Sonora
  • Michael Ellenbecker University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Javier Esquer University of Sonora
  • Sara Ojeda Autonomous University of Baja California
  • Markus Will University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz
  • Bernd Delakowitz University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz
Keywords: Energy efficiency, energy audits, Mexico, Maquiladoras, Climate Change


The energy consumption worldwide by the industrial sector is expected to keep increasing during the coming years; generating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as unwanted byproducts. For that reason, industrial facilities must take concrete initiatives in order to decouple their production growth from their CO2 emission generation in order to decrease their contributions to global warming. Concerned that this is a world-wide problem, Mexican maquiladoras have started several energy-efficiency initiatives.  This article present the results of a descriptive and analytical study that has been conducted during the two first stages of the framework of the Cleaner Production Program focused on Energy Efficiency by the United Nations Environment Programme. 

Findings reveal that, although electrical devices seem work efficiently; it is still possible to address energy waste.  It was also found that attaching the energy-efficiency approach to the cleaner production framework is a complicated task because, unlike emissions and toxic residues, energy inefficiencies are not easily visible, verifiable, or measurable. 

Author Biographies

Nora Munguia, University of Sonora

Dr. Munguia holds a doctoral degree from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in the field of Cleaner Production and Pollution Prevention. She is professor /researcher in sustainability issues in the University of Sonora, Mexico. She has conducted research studies on sustainability and Lice Cycle Assessment at the Mexican Industry. 

Luis Velazquez, University of Sonora

Dr. Velazquez has 25 years of experience as Industrial Engineer and since 1994; he has served as Director of Sustainable Development Group in the Engineering College. He has conducted several investigations in the Sustainability, Cleaner Production and Pollution Prevention fields. Dr.  Velazquez holds a doctoral degree in the major of Cleaner Production and Pollution Prevention from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Actually, he is professor and researcher in the University of Sonora in Mexico and adjunct professor in the University of Massachusetts.

Michael Ellenbecker, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Professor Michael Ellenbecker is Professor Emeritus in the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He has been associated with the Toxics Use Reduction Institute since its inception, first as Deputy Director and now as Director. In this role, he facilitates interdisciplinary research toward the goal of reducing the use of toxic chemicals by industry. The Institute has funded research projects in all of the engineering departments at UMass Lowell, including projects performed by the co-PIs on this proposal. In addition, the Institute has worked with scientists and engineers located at institutions throughout the United States and in many other countries to further the goal of reducing the use of toxic chemicals. In recognition of the innovative work performed by the Institute and its partner agencies, the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Program was selected as one of the top ten Innovations in American Government by the Ford Foundation, Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and the Council for Excellence in Government in 1999. 

Javier Esquer, University of Sonora

Dr. Javier Esquer holds a Doctor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. He has been an enthusiastic promoter of sustainable development in his community with a focus on pollution prevention, occupational health and safety, sustainability management systems, energy efficiency, and education for sustainable development. He has also authored and co-authored articles in scientific/academic publications with international recognition.

Sara Ojeda, Autonomous University of Baja California
Dr. Ojeda holds a doctoral degree from Ibero-American University, Mexico in the field of environmental sciences applied to education.  She has been engaged in environmental programs and her main line of research is solid waste management. She has also applied the life-cycle assessment. Actually, She is  a  Researcher  at  the  Institute  of Engineering of the Autonomous University of Baja California, Mexico. She is president of the Mexican Society of Science and Technology applied to solid waste
Markus Will, University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz

Markus Will, Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Ecology and Environmental Protection, Environmental Management Coordinator (TÜV), works as freelancer in the field of sustainability and environmental management since 2004. He consults companies from different sectors and public institutions. He is lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz and several other international institutions of higher education. Due to his educational background of environmental sciences and engineering his work focuses currently on environmental management and sustainability, product sustainability assessment and regional greenhouse gas accounting. 

Bernd Delakowitz, University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz
Prof. Dr. Delakowitz holds a diploma degreee and Ph. D. in Geosciences/Geochemistry of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich. He is an environmental expert with more than 30 years of professional expertise in the fields of consulting, research & development, university teaching and training of innovation management systems (EMS, QMS, OH&S), sustainable resource management (life cycle assessment), management system and legal compliance auditing, management reviewing; also more than 17 years of (partly international) teaching, consulting and research experience in the field of (nuclear) waste disposal, remediation of contaminated land sites, monitoring of hazardous aquatic substances.


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