Manufacturing organizations are doing their best to cut energy costs to save money and be more green. It isn’t easy but it is necessary!
by Isabell Berry
I think the key is to constantly be searching for new ways to save. Each measure will save a relatively small percentage of your energy costs, 2%, 3% but when you add them all up you are looking at significant amounts of money as well as CO2 emissions reductions.
In 2020 there were 35 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions created worldwide. 2% of that is 7 million metric tons which is equal to the weight of 6 of the world's biggest natural gas drilling platforms or 1,750,000 hippos or 70,000 Boeing 757’s. So 2% is huge. Now let’s look at some ways to save energy.
Well of course install steam trap monitors. That’s a given. Installing the world’s best steam trap monitoring solution - Pulse - is fast, easy, inexpensive and saves you money very quickly. How could you not do it? With the rate of failure of steam traps (through no fault of their own, I mean they are under a lot of pressure) it just doesn’t make sense not to do it. It’s like buying a cell phone and then not getting a cover for it, or only having one pair of socks that you wear every day. If your building is heated, or your equipment is powered using steam, it makes even more sense to monitor steam traps to ensure maximum production line efficiency.
Replace all your old halogen and incandescent lighting with LED. On average, LEDs consume 80% less energy and last 25 times longer. They come in many different sizes and shapes and are so much better in so many ways that it is getting harder and harder to find non LED bulbs. This is an excellent example of a technology that has reached the tipping point. The savings are just too good to ignore, so out with the old, in with the new.
Control building heating and cooling. This includes a variety of smart solutions including limiting drafts, making sure doors are closed when not in use, moderating temperature fluctuations (some buildings have their ac set very low in summer and heat very high in winter, it is healthier and more efficient to keep this temperature range less extreme). When employees are not in the building these can be turned to even more of a power saver mode. Also make sure you clean or replace filters regularly to ensure the system is running at top capacity.
Reduce Waste. Find ways to re-use offcuts or to incorporate recycled materials into your processes. Packaging is a huge cost for many manufacturing companies, more and more organizations are finding ways to make their packaging out of recycled or compostable materials, to make their packaging less bulky, and to melt or grind offcuts and put them back into the packaging creation process. It has been found that excessive packaging in the food & bev industry for example, often does not lead to longer shelf life and is damaging to consumer opinion. If you can find a way to reduce packaging you can market that fact and use it as a differentiator that is becoming more and more important in people’s buying choices.
Audit your supply chain and distribution channels. There are many points of wasted energy in most supply chains. It may be a time consuming process to look at your supply chain, but it can be very productive. Comparing the cost savings of one vendor of a component may very likely be offset with transportation and logistic gains you can get from another, and coming to the negotiation table armed with this kind of data may be an excellent bargaining chip in getting a better rate. Buying local is another way to gain favour with many consumers and other businesses as well. It makes your supply chain less vulnerable, by diversifying your options and making it impervious to the volatile fuel market as well as extreme weather and/or political conditions.
Saving energy brings many rewards. Use that money to reinvest in your company, feel good that you are helping the planet and then market that fact to your buyers as well as investors and vendors. Being green is a trend that is not going away and in fact it is gaining momentum and influence across the board. It’s win win.