What to Do After Your Industrial Energy Audit
Conducting an energy audit at your industrial facility is a great way to improve your overall energy usage. Companies utilize these audits to get a comprehensive look into how their energy is being used, the overall performance of their power systems, and ways to cut costs. According to ENERGY STAR, businesses can save up to 30% by using more energy-efficient practices.
An energy audit is typically performed by a third-party professional. This individual will assess how your facility uses energy and then provide you with recommendations to increase efficiency. This process will involve inspecting and analyzing power systems such as lighting, HVAC, and production equipment to identify major consumers and potential energy waste. With this data, you can prioritize upgrades to obtain the greatest energy-savings benefit.
The following are some projects that your auditor might suggest to improve the energy efficiency of your industrial building:
1. Retrofit Your Lighting
Retrofitting your lighting systems is a cost-effective way to begin reducing your energy costs. Many utility companies, like PG&E, recognize the benefits of retrofitting and offer up rebates to help business owners cover the costs. PG&E has numerous rebates available for customers who switch to light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. LEDs offer many advantages over outdated lighting systems, including better quality lighting and high energy efficiency, with one bulb lasting 50,000 to 100,000 hours. This can make for a great return on your retrofitting investment over time.
2. Replace Leaking Hoses
Your audit may uncover a number of hose leaks in industrial equipment like air compressors. Leaks can cost your business a lot of money in wasted energy. Small leaks may appear to be a minor issue at first, but they can eventually lead to serious problems as your systems are forced to work that much harder to compensate for the leaks. This can result in extra wear and tear, which will ultimately reduce the efficiency and overall lifespan of your equipment. Replacing broken hoses is an inexpensive way to save your business money on energy.
3. Upgrade Old Equipment
After so many years, your industrial equipment can begin to wear down and become less efficient. A reduction in efficiency will lead to increased energy costs, which can really add up over time. Older equipment will also be more likely to break down, resulting in lost production as you tend to the repairs. Here are some signs that you may need new equipment:
- More than 10 years old—Newer equipment will offer enhanced technology that will be more energy efficient.
- Frequent breakdowns—If you find yourself having to repair it often, it might be more cost-effective to invest in newer machinery.
- Corroded or worn-out parts—You should see these as a warning sign that essential components are deteriorating and should be replaced before they have the chance to breakdown.
4. Assess Your HVAC System
Your audit is likely to show that the HVAC system is one of the highest consumers of electricity in your building. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, commercial HVAC systems can make up to 30% of your electric bill, but this percentage can be much higher if your system isn’t being regularly maintained. When HVAC coils are dirty, the system will have to work harder to cool the air. This leads to considerably increased energy usage. Regular maintenance is the best way to keep your system clean and efficient so that it can function properly. Filters should be changed at least every three months to maximize air flow. The system will also need routine duct cleaning and other tasks best performed by a maintenance professional.
Depending on the manufacturer, a commercial HVAC system can last 15 to 20 years or more. If your system is within this range, you may want to consider purchasing a new one for your facility. An upgraded unit won’t require as many repairs as an older model, and you can maximize your investment with periodic maintenance. If your operation allows for it, you should also consider limiting HVAC usage during peak energy hours. This is usually a set period of 3 to 6 hours after noon, when electricity costs more for your business. Shifting to an off-peak schedule can provide substantial savings each year.
5. Purchase a New Generator
Your auditor may recommend replacing your generator to improve efficiency. Even the most well-maintained generators have a limited lifespan, and yours may begin showing signs that it needs replacement after a decade or two. These signs include:
- Higher fuel costs—As generators age, they can become less fuel efficient. If you have noticed a significant increase in fuel costs even with regular maintenance, it may be time to upgrade your unit.
- Increased oil consumption—After some time, you generator may begin requiring more oil to function properly. This is a result of excess wear and tear on the unit, which will eventually cause problems for your system.
- Excess repairs—Does it seem like your unit is needing more and more repairs recently? The older your generator is, the less reliable it may become. A new generator can give you peace of mind and save you on repair costs.
With a new generator, it’s a good idea to start off on the right foot with a preventative maintenance plan to maximize the generator’s expected lifespan. Many companies decide to set up routine service visits from a generator maintenance professional. This individual will have the specialized knowledge necessary to handle maintenance tasks as well as be able to identify minor problems before they progress, which could potentially save you thousands of dollars in repairs over the years.
Contact Valley Power Systems Today
Valley Power Systems works with businesses across California that are looking for alternative power solutions. Our knowledgeable staff members can answer all of your questions about our quality products and help you select the right system for your facility. We partner with top manufacturers that our commercial customers trust. Contact us today to learn more.