Energy costs are one of the most significant expenses of any manufacturing enterprise. Conserving energy directly translates into increased profitability. Energy saving tips for manufacturers goes well beyond shutting the lights out at the end of the day. This plays a small part in saving energy, but it is just the tip of the iceberg.
Manufacturing processes require tremendous amounts of energy; lighting, heating, cooling, office equipment, and the production line itself all require energy. This presents tremendous opportunities to save energy and ultimately reduce costs.
Process heating is required to make most consumer and industrial goods including those made out of metal, plastic, rubber, concrete, glass and ceramics. There are three basic types of process heating:
- Fuel based process heating include kilns, lehrs (temperature-controlled kiln for annealing objects made of glass), ovens, furnaces and melters.
- Electric based process heating uses electric currents or electromagnetic fields to heat materials. Direct and indirect heating methods are used.
- Steam based process heating has low toxicity, ease of transportability and high heat capacity. This form of energy is used in many process heating applications.
Several steps can be taken to save energy in all three methods:
- Install waste heat recovery systems for fuel-fired furnaces.
- Use waste heat for external processes that requiring lower heat.
- Assess burner air to fuel ratios.
- Check heat transfer surfaces.
- Evaluate furnace pressure controllers.
- Use proper furnace insulation.
- Reduce steam demand.
- Use alternate fuels with a higher combustion efficiency to save money on fuel.
- Upgrade boilers to energy efficient models.
- Install an automatic blowdown control system.
Understand Consumption Patterns
The first step to saving energy is to understand consumption patterns. Determine when the most energy is used during the day, and evaluate which processes consume the greatest amount of energy. Peak demand charges can often equal 30 percent of an industrial organization’s monthly utility bill, and these demand charges are typically calculated over the 15-minute interval when the organization uses the greatest amount of energy in a given billing period.
Peak demand is impossible to determine by simply looking at a utility bill. Industrial businesses can work with vendors to ensure high-energy-demand activity does not coincide with incidental loads that can be shifted or eliminated.
Retro-commissioning systematically looks for equipment in your facility operating below optimal standards. Retrofitting involves replacing outdated or inefficient equipment. Retro-commissioning looks to improve the efficiency of existing equipment
All Hands on Deck
Include all employees in the energy saving efforts. Make energy saving a facility-wide initiative where everyone is responsible for reducing consumption. Shut the lights out when not in use and make sure all equipment is off or in power save mode when possible. This includes printers, monitors, projectors, smart boards…the list is endless. Eliminate the use of personal space heaters and institute one standard temperature. Every little bit counts.
Energy Alliance Program
- Increases all participants buying power for electricity
- Creates greater negotiating strength for members
- Helps manufacturers achieve lower electricity pricing than they could on their own
Energy Alliance Program members can aggregate their energy purchases with other NJMEP members. This essentially allows members to “buy in bulk” and receive wholesale pricing by increasing their energy purchasing volume.
For more information about the Energy Alliance Program, call 973-998-9801 or visit our Energy Services page by clicking the button below