Energy efficiency adds value beyond saving energy

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Energy efficiency adds value beyond saving energy

Waste of energy, as painful as it is by itself, is often a symptom of lost sales, under utilization of production capacity and other lost opportunities.

Some time ago I participated in a walk through energy audit of a commercial bakery. Plant manager was interested in saving energy, but not as much as in opportunities to increase production. This bakery produces popular frosen baked products, they can meet the demand in baking, but freezing was a bottle-neck. To increase product shipment they obviously needed a bigger freezer, but business case was not strong enough to secure funding from HQ. Besides, installation would halt production of popular product, cause lost sales, lower annual profit margin thus hurting annual bonus and other perks. “Energy efficiency is nice, but we have a real problem to deal with,” – we were told. “We now have to ship our products to 3rd party freezers, this creates additional workload, drives costs up and brings risk of compromised quality of product.”

Walking through the freezer we noticed that it was lit by a dozen of 400W metal halide fixtures. They were ON when we came in, since who wants to wait for the lamps to warm up, right?

So, 12 fixtures produced roughly 6 kW of heat 24/7 within a freezer. The same freezer that restricted production due to its limited capacity.

Replacing the existing lamps with LEDs combined with motion sensor would effectively increase freezer capacity without capital investment and production interruption, it’s like increasing compressor power by about 10hp. How much would this be worth for production volume, capacity utilization, workload and quality?

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