Machinery and equipment in the workplace requires a lot of energy, especially if it transforms or 'processes' material in some way. No matter what your use of “process” energy, you may realize savings by doing the following:
- Turn machines off whenever possible.
- Adjust controls to a temperature, speed or the setting that uses less energy but still does the job properly.
- Clean, tune and adjust, lubricate, replace worn parts, and otherwise maintain equipment properly.
- Manage your electricity use to avoid high demand changes.
- If the savings justifies the cost, increase your energy efficiency by:
- Replacing old or inefficient equipment
- Installing new automatic controls
New motors are available in standard and high-efficiency models. A high-efficiency motor may cost more to purchase than a standard one, but the electricity savings can quickly exceed the cost if the motor is used a lot. Rewinding a burned out motor often reduces its efficiency. When considering energy costs, it is often a better investment to buy a new high efficiency motor.
Motor efficiencies vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so look for the 'Average Nominal Efficiency' rating on the motor nameplate. Average Nominal Efficiency refers to the average full-load efficiency value found from testing a sample of motors of the same motor model. Below is a comparison of standard vs. premium motor efficiencies:
Electric Motor Efficiencies
(note: data is from 1996 – more updated efficiency data may be available)
Avg. Nominal Efficiency
Source: 'How to Reduce Your Energy Costs', Advantage Publications and Insights, Boston, MA 1996
The higher the efficiency rating, the more efficient the motor and greater the savings. Choose motors with higher nominal efficiencies - a small gain in efficiency can produce substantial operating savings over the life of a motor.
Your compressed air system may be costing you energy dollars in the form of 'stand-by' losses - keeping air under pressure when it's not needed - or by leaking at various points in the system. Or you may be running it more than you need to. In addition to turning off the air compression when not in use, you can save additional energy by doing the following:
- Fix Leaks
Fix leaks in hose connections, shutoff valves, pipe connections and flanges, in hoses and clamps, and in worn air cylinders. The best time to detect leaks is when noise levels in the area are low - after work, at lunch, or during a coffee break.
- Use the Correct Nozzles
If you use compressed air to clean or blow away excess material in the manufacturing of a product, make sure you use a nozzle that concentrates and controls the stream of air. Using a hose without a nozzle, or a nozzle with too large an opening, will waste more compressed air - and energy dollars.
- Use Outside Air
Many air compressors are located in boiler rooms or mechanical rooms and must compress warm inside air. If you install an outside air intake in the exterior wall, the compressor will be able to use cool outside air, which uses less energy to compress.