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The Biggest Energy Wasters in Industrial Facilities — And What to Do About Them

 

The Biggest Energy Wasters in Industrial Facilities — And What to Do About Them

Posted by Constellation on November 09, 2017

Many business leaders might consider energy costs as nothing more than an operational requirement. This causes their organizations to pay their monthly bills, groan and complete the cycle again in another month. What these businesses don’t realize is that you have much more control over your energy costs than you might think.

According to a recent report from the Energy Information Administration, industrial facilities accounted for 60 percent of all energy consumed in the United States last year. The impact of your energy consumption could seem like a monthly expense, but the waste adds up quickly and could be impacting your bottom line. 

By recognizing the greatest energy wasters in your facilities and adjusting your energy management strategy, your business will be able to see results. By creating a more effective energy strategy and working to increase efficiency, your business could realize sustainable, long-term success that benefits your business employees, customers and community.

  • HVAC: The need to heat, cool and ventilate your industrial facilities plays a critical role in consumption. Last year, industrial facilities required 69 billion kWh to meet their HVAC needs. But did you know that poorly performing air compressors alone contributed to $3.2 billion of unnecessary HVAC-related energy expenses? Conducting an HVAC audit can help determine where your HVAC systems could be burning up your budget.
  • Lighting: The EIA found that facility lighting required almost 52 billion kWh of electricity last year. While you may not be able to operate with the lights off, lighting system upgrades are among the simplest fixes you can make at your facility today. Low cost LEDs are now competitive with traditional incandescent bulbs. These long-lasting, high efficiency bulbs will curb your utility bills and decrease maintenance expenses. Combining these bulbs with a smart lighting system that can respond automatically to facility conditions can also cut lighting-related energy waste.
  • Process heating: In many industrial manufacturing settings, heat must be supplied for the forging of various materials and commodities. In 2016, the EIA found that process heating required nearly 94 billion kWh of electricity to meet demand. This accounts for roughly 17% of all industrial usage. The Department of Energy has put forth a guideline for improving process heating systems. The recommendations can be applied in one year and reach a standard payback within two years.
  • Electrochemical processes: Some materials cannot be created through simple process heating, which may require a more complex electrochemical reaction. Last year, electrochemical processes in United States facilities required almost 93 billion kWh. That is almost the same amount required for process heating. Recent research into these processes has shown a promise for turning waste heat back into energy. Through a renewable energy system that leverages electrochemical waste, industrial facilities may be able to create a highly-efficient loop that powers itself.
  • Machinery Use: The greatest contributor to industrial energy consumption is the energy required to power machinery. Requiring 426 billion kWh to meet demand, machine drive accounts for more than HVAC, lighting, process heating and electrochemical processes combined. However, it is also one of the easiest costs to control. Energy prices change over the day, week, month and year. As a result, facilities can capitalize on these fluctuations by operating heavy machinery in off peak hours when electricity is offered at a lower cost. Changing your workflows and operational processes might seem challenging, but there is a lot of potential for cutting energy waste.

By analyzing where your business’ energy costs are coming from and taking a positive step to correct them, you are already one step ahead of many other businesses when it comes to cutting energy costs. We believe it is important to consider high energy costs as an opportunity to rethink your overall energy strategy.

Constellation offers products and tools that will help your business do just that. Beyond our products, Constellation’s Efficiency Made Easy® (EME),an award-winning efficiency and sustainability program, can help you make many of the efficiency updates discussed above with no upfront capital. Learn more about EME and more products and tools that could help your business on constellation.com.

Topics: Energy Management

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