Energy Efficiency & Sustainability Consulting

Manufacturing Facilities Are Gold Mines for Energy Efficiency Savings

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This post was originally posted on Business Energy on November 26, 2014 by Matt M. Casey.

Dunlap Industries reduced their energy consumption by 38% through energy efficiency.

Dunlap Industries reduced their energy consumption by 38% through energy efficiency.

 

The Ways of Warehouses and Other Large Facilities 
Assessing industrial and commercial spaces for efficiency upgrades

Like many business leaders, Robert Kwasnik, president of Tennessee-based Dunlap Industries, wants his business to use natural resources more efficiently. Beyond the business case, and beyond his belief that the country’s politics have tilted in a direction that favors greener solutions, Kwasnik says his taste for energy efficiency came from his Christian faith. “I feel like I am charged by my God to be a good steward of the environment, and it’s just something that I take to heart and take seriously,” he says.

But before Kwasnik could reduce Dunlap’s energy consumption at their manufacturing warehouse, he had to assess it. For that, he spoke with EES (Energy Efficiency & Sustainability) Consulting. Dunlap is a manufacturer and distributor of zippers, thread, hook, loop and related textile trim.

Anchor“They came in; they went through our facilities,” says Kwasnik. “They took a look at the type of equipment we were using and the amount of power that they were currently pulling.”

The work that EES did for Dunlap, he says, was beyond the expertise that his staff could have brought to the job.

After the assessment, EES gave not just a full assessment of where and how his facility consumed energy, but also a list of opinions detailed “down to the number of months or years that it’s going to take to cover the costs and reap the savings benefits.”

EES ultimately suggested that Dunlap Industries dispose of its older-style fluorescent tube bulbs and replace them with a strategically placed compact fluorescents with attached motion sensors. The result, Kwasnik says, was a smaller energy bill and a more comfortable workspace: the new configuration eliminated dark spots and “actually increased the average number of lumens” in the facility.

Since then, Kwasnik has hired EES to identify and address more ways Dunlap can reduce its energy use, including a power generation project.

Kwasnik’s dilemma- and the problem of energy reduction in general- comes back to the old saying made famous by management consultant Peter Drucker: “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”

But the current market offers ever growing ways to measure a building or facility’s energy consumption, and even more ways to reduce it- sometimes in a single stroke.

Firms like EES can perform thorough energy audits of a facility’s power draws. Other firms use satellite images, embedded arrays of sensors, or infrared imaging. Regardless of the approach, companies need to know where they’re wasting energy before they can stop it.

AnchorThe Energy Bill

To read the entire Dunlap Industries Case Study, click here.

To read the entire Dunlap Industries Case Study, click here.

According to Dan LeVan, Managing Director of EES Consulting. his firm usually starts assessments by doing a walk-through and looking at the client’s energy bill. In addition to establishing a baseline for how much energy the firm consumes on a monthly basis, an energy bill can offer an early clue to the firm’s problem areas.

When firms don’t keep tight controls over how much energy they use- particularly during peak times- their electricity provider levies penalties on them. The less control the company keeps over their energy use, the worse the penalties grow. In one case, LeVan says, fees and penalties accounted for fully a third of one client’s energy bill.

In a case like that, LeVan and his colleagues can focus on the equipment that operated at the highest capacity during peak hours. Often, this means upgrading a firm’s HVAC solutions. In the case of Dunlap Industries, the company had recently installed news HVAC equipment. So, EES instead focused on the firm’s light fixtures.

The change reduced Dunlap’s energy bill in one facility by 38%, saving the company $26,765 per year. EES’s assessment also found that the upgrade would pay for itself in just 2.4 years and reduce Dunlap’s carbon footprint by 1.7 million pounds annually. 

Read the rest of the article on Business Energy

To find out how EES Consulting could help your manufacturing facility realize large-scale energy savings, call us at (855) ITS-EESy.