Who doesn’t want to save energy? Now more than ever, we are all looking for ways to cut back—we turn down the lights and turn off the thermostat, we run the dishwasher less and take shorter showers—hoping to save some money on the monthly energy bill.
But when you run a large manufacturing plant, the task of saving energy may be a bit more daunting. Before you can start conserving energy, you have to know where the most energy is being consumed and what the best opportunities are for reducing high-energy output.
Knowledge is power, so we’ve put together a simple site survey checklist to help managers get well acquainted with their plant’s energy output. According to the Energy in Plastics Good Practice Guide, you should carry out an initial survey immediately because “if energy is being wasted, it is costing money.” A 20% cut in energy costs can equal the same bottom line benefit as a 5% increase in sales.
It’s also a good idea to take an unannounced walk around the site at about mid-shift to see how things are running during normal working hours.
What to look for during an initial walk through
Keep a close eye on the machines. Machines consume about 60% of energy costs. Yikes. But think of it this way—here lies your greatest opportunity for energy savings.
As you survey the site, keep these questions in mind:
- Which areas have the largest energy load? Look for the largest machines; they will have the largest motors and consume the most energy.
- Which motors are running? Would smaller motors be more efficient? Could they be turned off during non-peak hours?
- Are machines well insulated? Is the insulation in good condition?
- Are hot and cold pipes insulated? Is the insulation in good condition?
- Which cooling water pumps and vacuum pumps are running?
- Does compressed air pressure need to be so high, or the vacuum so low? Can you hear steam and compressed air leaks?
- Are lights and machine heaters left on? What is running during lunch breaks and and after working hours?
With a better understanding of where unnecessary energy output occurs, you can now take productive steps to decrease it. Don’t wait—conduct your site survey today to start saving energy and increase that bottom line!
*Statistics from European Best Practice Guide.