U.S. President Barack Obama, in an executive order Thursday, set the goal that would represent a 50 percent increase in the number of cogeneration plants by 2020.
"Instead of burning fuel in an onsite boiler to produce thermal energy and also purchasing electricity from the grid, a manufacturing facility can use a CHP (combined heat and power) system to provide both types of energy in one energy efficient step," the order read.
Obama said his administration had "limited but important authorities" that would allow him to overcome barriers in investments in industrial efficiency. The industrial sector, the White House said, accounts for more than 30 percent of the energy consumed in the country.
Tom Conway, international vice president of the United Steelworkers, said the measure would help make the U.S. manufacturing sector more competitive.
The U.S. Clean Heat and Power Association said the initiative would provide economic stimulus while advancing a greener future.
CHP, the White House said, would result in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions equal to the amount produced by 25 million cars.