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.
- Determine your facility’s load profile so that high-energy-use equipment is identified.
- Use an Energy Monitoring System – now relatively inexpensive – to measure fully loaded equipment or partially loaded, and for how long. No guessing!
- On forecast peak days, to the extent possible, move production runs to off-peak hour.
- Backup generators can be used (rented) to supply parts of large electrical loads that cannot be shifted away from peak operating periods.
- 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%.
- 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.
- For water pumping operations – e.g. waste-water facilities, hospitals etc. – use smaller horsepower pumps over longer time periods.
- 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.
- For compressed air generation, match the type and capacity of the compressors to the load.
- Add air receivers to provide additional capacity during peak demand
- Never use high-pressure air for low-pressure applications e.g. blowing down work surfaces.
- For companies with metal-cutting or joining operations (or other high power needs), install automatic controls to shut them off as quickly as possible.
- 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.
- 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.