Iluminación industrial

How to easily reduce the cost of energy in industry

Some notes The industrial consumes more energy than many other sectors. In 2015 it used about 37% of the total energy generated globally. This sector incorporates a diverse group of industries, including manufacturing, mining, construction, agriculture, and many other activities, such as processing and assembly, packaging, and lighting. In addition, energy consumption represents between 10% and 60% of the production cost of industries, depending on their activity sector, the most energy-intensive being pharmaceutical and chemical, metallurgical and agri-food.

Reducing energy consumption, a vital challenge for the industry

The different measures that allow reducing energy consumption have often not been implemented by manufacturers because they were not aware that the energy bill was so important in their accounts. Furthermore, investments in this field are often considered non-productive. Therefore, the installation of new energy efficient equipment is almost only done following the schedule of regular renovation of equipment or new construction. However, to remain competitive and at current energy prices, industry participants cannot stay behind any longer. We are going to see below some simple solutions to apply either internally within the company or thanks to digitization.

Establish an energy management team

One of the main reasons why energy saving and efficiency initiatives fail is that manufacturers are not sure who to trust with this task. Therefore, it is important to build a team dedicated to energy management. You can bring together a representative from each department or choose departments that have already undertaken initiatives to keep energy costs down beforehand. Together, they will be able to find effective solutions to monitor energy consumption throughout the company, implement ways to reduce losses and optimize the use of available energy.

Carry out an energy audit

It can be done internally using an energy audit guide. But ideally, it should be carried out by certified experts. The energy audit helps determine the amount of energy consumed by each service and makes recommendations on improvements that can be made to optimize energy efficiency, while increasing the return on investment.

Plan the use of machines

With the information collected from the energy audit of the equipment and processes, it can be determined which machines consume the most energy when they are in operation. In this case, it is convenient to program its operation outside peak hours. It is also possible to design planned production stops if necessary. There are tools that help easily plan the capacity of a production team by providing a 360° view of the resources needed. Some provide graphic schedules that allow the real capacities of the machines to be programmed in detail and therefore to carry out production management in a proactive, reactive and centralized manner.

Improve lighting efficiency

Lighting is also one of the easiest ways to lower energy bills. When planning or replacing lighting systems, consider the types of lamps to be used, their location, lighting conditions, technology used, and appropriate control systems. An example: a fluorescent lamp is about four times more efficient than incandescent models and lasts twelve times longer. For lights installed outside buildings, a timer or photocell should be used to automatically turn them off during the day. For interior lighting, lighting levels need to be adjusted as needed with lamps with various light intensities. During the day, make the most of natural light by placing workstations near windows.

Perform an HVAC system check

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are responsible for maintaining comfort and air quality on a production site. It should be noted that these systems are responsible for around 50% of the total energy consumption of a building. To ensure that the HVAC systems are being used to the maximum, a periodic review of them must be carried out. Depending on the results, you can invest in its maintenance or upgrade. Sistema HVAC industrial

Maintain equipment regularly

After the audit of the HVAC systems, their maintenance may be enough to increase the energy efficiency of the company. An example can be that of industrial water chillers. Since chillers are some of the most electrically consuming pieces of equipment, it is essential that they run as efficiently as possible. For this specific case, maintenance tasks must be performed on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. If HVAC systems are regularly maintained, they will use at least 15-20% less energy than those that have not been maintained.

Recover waste heat

During the production or transformation processes, the thermal energy produced thanks to the energy supplied by the companies is not used in its entirety. In other words, part of the heat is rejected. It is called residual heat. It is estimated that between 20% and 50% of the energy consumed by industry is lost as waste heat. Manufacturers are well aware of this fact, and that is why many are striving to recover waste heat to improve its energy efficiency. This practice is effective and generates significant savings for companies. In addition, it reduces the environmental impact and improves workflow and productivity. A heat recovery system can be installed on an industrial furnace, refrigeration unit, air compressor or self-cooling tower, to name a few.

Prioritize the use of renewable energy

It is advisable to consider installing solar panels on the roof of industrial buildings. Solar energy is a free and renewable energy source. Solar panels can be expensive at first, but that cost is recovered in a few years if the reception and use of solar energy is optimized. Solar panels last a long time and require little maintenance. In addition, they help reduce the monthly electricity bill. In reality, there are many possibilities regarding the use of renewable energies, such as the installation of cogeneration systems for heating or the conversion of biomass into heat and electricity thanks to advanced technologies.]]>