Whether you use electricity or natural gas, or both, energy use reduction has to be high on your priority list. Some of the ideas below require a modest investment in new equipment, while others cost nothing. Operational/behavioral changes and inexpensive sensors can make a big difference.

  1. Determine your facility’s load profile so that high-energy-use equipment is identified.
  2. Use an Energy Monitoring System – now relatively inexpensive – to measure fully loaded equipment or partially loaded, and for how long. No guessing!
  3. On forecast peak days, to the extent possible, move production runs to off-peak hour.
  4. Backup generators can be used (rented) to supply parts of large electrical loads that cannot be shifted away from peak operating periods.
  5. Turn equipment off wherever possible. Humans tend to turn things on, not off, so automate the switch-off process with sensors etc. Savings, when off, are 100%.
  6. Many energy storage systems can substitute low-cost off-peak power for high-cost on-peak power – e.g. producing chilled water and ice at night, so chiller(s) can be switched off in the daytime.
  7. For water pumping operations – e.g. waste-water facilities, hospitals etc. – use smaller horsepower pumps over longer time periods.
  8. By matching motor speeds with loads, variable speed drives can save a lot of energy. Process motors, blower fans, condenser fans, evaporator fans, pump motors etc. can all be candidates for variable speed drives.
  9. For compressed air generation, match the type and capacity of the compressors to the load.
  10. Add air receivers to provide additional capacity during peak demand
  11. Never use high-pressure air for low-pressure applications e.g. blowing down work surfaces.
  12. For companies with metal-cutting or joining operations (or other high power needs), install automatic controls to shut them off as quickly as possible.
  13. Use slower-charging battery chargers for forklifts. Fast charging isn’t always needed. Instead, ensure that the charging takes place over an entire shift (or two shifts), so as to spread the load.
  14. Fix any and all leaks!

It’s almost always worth getting a fresh set of eyes to look at your facility because, if you walk around it every day, you often can’t see the wood from the trees.