10 Ways to Reduce Energy Consumption

Do you know the monthly energy usage in your factory? Not necessarily the cost, but how the energy is consumed within the business. Energy Management is just another component in a well-run business.

You could be surprised. The obvious users include the HVAC and lighting, even though they are sometimes the less costly and more efficient uses of energy. The real “energy hogs” in manufacturing are related to process heating and cooling. Additional offenders include machine-driven systems such as pumps, fans, compressed air, material processing and handling.

Here are ten things that you can do to reduce energy consumption.

  1. Ask your electric company if they provide no-cost lighting audits and rebates to cover some of the expense for new energy-efficient equipment, including motor upgrades.
  2. Install motion sensitive light switches in areas with little or no activities.
  3. Idling machines waiting for work are an expense.
  4. Shut off cooling to unused areas of the plant. Closing overhead doors and shading windows in the heat can result in large HVAC savings.
  5. Air compressors can be the largest users of electricity in some manufacturing facilities. Many places can provide a no or low cost evaluation of your compressed air system.
  6. Properly maintained equipment will often reduce energy consumption by >10% through things like properly tensioned fan belts and greased fittings/bearings.
  7. Fans are some of the least efficient things used in manufacturing. Slow down or turn off any unneeded fans. Slowing a fan down by only 10% can result in 25% energy savings. 
  8. Identify and eliminate phantom electric loads. i.e. (unused computers or refrigerators)
  9. Focus on reducing scrap and rework.
  10. Hot water heaters that are rarely used can often be turned down or wrapped with additional insulation to increase their efficiency.

Science and industry are working together to identify new ways to save energy. The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) and the US Department of Energy are completing a three-year advanced manufacturing partnership with machine and tool shops serving aerospace and defense customers. The goal of the Innovation in Advanced Manufacturing Grant Competition was to reduce energy consumed in the manufacturing process with a focus in three areas: lean energy Improvements, bolt-on CNC machine tool energy improvements and simulation.

Dr. Young-Jun-Son and his research team at the University of Arizona helped Sargent Aerospace solve an expensive problem. Sargent participates in the local utility’s demand response program where the price of electricity depends on time of the day and peak consumption levels. It is imperative to avoid costly peak/spike consumption. Dr. Son received a grant to create a simulation model to establish optimum starting, stopping and idle times of older generation, energy intensive machine tools to reduce electricity costs without sacrificing productivity, resulting in an optimized operations schedule and a machine turn-on sequence.

Would you like to reduce your energy consumption? Our energy management and manufacturing experts can help.

RevAZ is Arizona’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) center created through a partnership between the ACA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) whose goal is to become the central resource for technical assistance and all things manufacturing for Arizona’s existing community of small and medium-sized manufacturers. In addition, RevAZ has a Certified Energy Management professional on staff that has over 15 years of experience in saving energy in a multitude of manufacturing industries.

RevAZ offers products and services that match the needs of manufacturing companies in Arizona and provides focused, concrete advice, training and hands-on assistance in growing businesses and improving profitability. Call us today at (602) 845-1256.