Manufacturing: A little goes a long way; keep business growth up and costs down, by making a few changes to your energy management structure.

Manufacturing is a diverse sector, but has several common areas where energy is wasted. Such as HVAC, lighting, & motor loads.

Some manufacturing companies treat energy bills as a fixed cost, which is not the best mind-set to have, when you are trying to save money and develop your business. It?s essential you find ways to improve your business and reduce costs where possible.

By taking a more pro-active and energy-efficient approach to changing your business, energy can be controlled by the company by having a better understanding of your consumption and setting targets to apply improvements. Allowing prices to be monitored and brought down by your business, through reducing energy costs and having an energy savvy mind-set or seeking help from a specialist who will find the most suitable plan for you.

The first steps would be to understand the energy usage at your business and to identify where the major energy consumption is coming from. This can be done, by having a look around the site and pinpointing where you could save money. These first steps are vital, to improving the current situation, so if you are unsure of how to go about things or you simply don?t have the time; it is best to contact a specialist.

HEATING

The industrial building uses light, heat and ventilation. By firstly looking at the heating, is key to understanding that for a workforce to be productive the temperature has to be comfortable. However, careless mistake like leaving delivery doors open for convenience can have a negative effect on the cost of your energy bills. It is important to check thermostats regularly and make sure they are set at the correct temperature, one or two degrees too high, can make all the difference to the costs you are paying annually. Make sure the heating is switched off, when the building is not in use, even turn it off twenty minutes before people are leaving to avoid wasting energy. In colder months when windows are being opened often, turning the heating down slightly may be necessary and cost effective. Manufacturing buildings tend to have high ceilings and large spaces, so it is vital to make sure the placement of radiators fits with those who are working within the building otherwise it is a waste of energy.

These changes can help, when looking at the bigger picture. Being energy efficient on a daily basis can result in bigger savings long-term.

AIR CONDITIONING

Air conditioning is used in a lot of offices, to improve staff comfort, but can use twice the amount of energy a naturally ventilated building has, increasing consumption by up to 100%. So it is paramount to remember this, when deciding when is appropriate to switch the air-con on and off and that the temperature that it is set to, meets the environmental needs. If the use of air-conditioning can be avoided, take that option, but if not, make sure the usage isn?t excessive and is carefully monitored. Free cooling coils can be used, which use outside air rather than just energy, (provided the air is cool enough.) This can help towards bigger savings for your company, by making use of natural resources.

BOILERS

Does you boiler have regular checks? A poorly maintained boiler can consumer 10% more energy than a well maintained boiler. So it is important to have regular checks, replace any worn parts, service annually (incl. combustion and/or flue-gas test) and if there are any funny noises, warning lights or blockages, these are dealt with quickly. This will prevent inefficiency and wastage. The same is true with steam boilers, keep an eye on the insulation and that it is working correctly. Too much air will cool the furnace and carry away heat and this could prevent savings of between 10-30%. So, regular boiler checks are important, this goes for leakages too.

LIGHTING

Another big factor is lighting, there is a lot to consider here. Raising awareness with staff and making sure certain measures are carried out on a daily basis could save you some big bucks. For example if the sun is out, turn the lights off, if a room/area is not being used, turn the lights off, when the premises is closed, don?t forget to turn lights off. It sounds simple, but a lot of people turn the lights on in the morning and they won?t go off until the end of the day, when the cleaner has been in. And some days, lights may accidentally be left on over night, which could be an issue, if this is a reoccurring problem. Lighting sensors may be a necessary and worthwhile buy to nip this problem in the bud. Natural lighting can also be used and a lot of people do prefer it, not only is it cheaper (free) but also easier on your eyes and environmentally friendly! So opening the blinds and giving the windows a dust can make all the different to paying excess money (on lights) or not. Inefficient lamps are another big factor, switching to LED is my advice. LED lighting lasts on average over 50,000 hours, use is only 6-8 watts and annual operation costs for LEDs is under £30. They are also recyclable, free from mercury and switch on and off instantly.

MOTORS AND DRIVES

Motors consume approximately a quarter of the electrical energy used by manufacturing sites. This is why it is vital to raise awareness to staff of when is appropriate for motors to be on and exactly when to turn them off. Programmed controls are also an option; they do all the work for you and allow energy savings to exist easily. Another important factor is carrying out regular maintenance of motors; this can reduce consumption by up to 7%. Another issue is a lot of the time motor?s that are being use are oversized, so by replacing them with the correct size is much more efficient and could save you between 5-10%. There are a couple more options that can reduce your costs. You could replace failed monitors with Higher Efficiency Motors (HEMs), allowing more efficiency and saving consumption by 5% because of the updated and improved product. Or, another possibility is installing Variable Speed Drives (VSDs); these can vary the speed of the motors. Best used for fans and pumps, by reducing motor speed by 20% and power requirement by 50%. Equaling a saving of up to 30% of the running costs. Technology is improving and with it energy efficient products are being produced; make sure you look at all the relevant options.

AMR

Automated Meter Readings (AMR) meters are key to monitoring energy consumption closely and evaluating exactly how much you are using, allowing you to have a tighter grasp on your consumption. This also means estimated billing won?t be an issue and you can budget costs better. Not only this but, you can watch how your consumption is improving by making efficiency changes and evaluating the results.

LOANS

There are energy efficiency loans out there, which can help you implement the equipment for making your business more efficient. Take a look

So the above information, gives you a number of tips on saving energy within your business and how you can identify opportunities to reduce your energy consumption. But in order to make these changes, time has to be spent accessing your situation, efficient products have to be bought and staff have to be educated. There is no short term fix, if you want drastic results, you will have to make changes, measure the savings `and continue to manage your site?s energy use.

For more information on complex and technical queries feel free to contact us.

RESOURCES:

The Carbon Trust

The Carbon Trust

Design Recycleinc