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Reining in energy levels and boosting efficiency in factories

Contributing AuthorsContributing Authors
Reining in energy levels and boosting efficiency in factories

Kazue Asano

In many countries worldwide, the largest energy user tends to be those in the industrial sector; the US’s industrial division accounts for over one-third of the nation’s total energy consumption. With this in mind, many manufacturers are being advised to rethink their processes and the methods they use within their factories and plants.

Sustainability is the predominant buzzword going around these days – and for good reason too. Sustainable energy solutions is the way forward for anybody who’s outlay of emissions and carbon footprint is sky-high and needs to be driven down, whilst their efficiency levels require a big kick.

National governments are certainly helping the situation by setting companies targets to meet by a certain year and meet legal standards, with sanctions for those who fail. This is imperative in some countries that suffer from terrible smog levels such as Beijing, but not only is the aim to reign in pollution, but also costs. Those taking advantage of plant dismantling for instance will in a way get a clean slate and be able to start again once relocated to a new plant or premises.

The first step for any factory or plant to become energy efficient and cost effective is to perform an energy audit to order to see where the most energy is being used, wasted and what can generally be improved. Specialists can do this for you and assess the pros and cons of your facility, suggesting what needs to be altered, added or taken away in order to have full efficiency.

One area that is likely to be viable to be done in-house is replacing low-efficiency bulbs around the plant that are using much more energy than is required. Lighting is an area that can be overlooked, which is a costly mistake, as energy consumption can be reduced by up to 50 per cent just from installing low-energy bulbs and installing controls that can place light levels at what is required and nothing more.

Nearly three-quarters of energy consumed within a factory or plant can be attributed to motors and powered machinery, therefore it is vital that the most efficient running equipment is running in the plant; replace the current machinery if not. In performing such a turnaround, that 70+ per cent of consumed energy can be reduced and a huge saving potential can be met.

An obvious area that will need to be controlled in order to rein in costs and bring down energy levels is heating and ventilation. The likes of heat control and ensuring that the temperature is controlled and that ventilation is more than adequate in order to keep a constant temperature.

Once such measures have been taken, order another audit after a few weeks of the turn around and see if your changes have made an impression on energy levels around the factory or plant.

Greener Ideal is an independent environmental news and lifestyle publication that has been curating content since 2008 to further the green movement. The views expressed by contributing authors are their own and may not reflect those of Greener Ideal.