Wasted energy reduces business profitability. With a desire to increase profits, business leaders often initiate technology renovations with a goal of reducing energy waste and minimizing energy expenses. What is often not expected are the following benefits that can be achieved when energy renovations are carefully engineered. In addition, when renovations use specific energy efficiency financing, the benefits can be achieved using zero upfront capital. The money previously spent on wasted energy can now be used to pay for the renovation (see PACE video).
The 5 unexpected benefits:
1 – Reduced Cost of Maintenance – one light technology that EAG prefers has three times the lifespan of the lighting it replaces. The benefit is one-third fewer bulb replacements over a lifetime of use. In an industrial setting, where replacing lighting often requires a scissor lift and maintenance staff, the reduction in the frequency of replacements often saves more in maintenance costs than the cost of the bulb. The initial cost of the bulb often becomes insignificant when compared to the cost associated with maintenance and replacements.
2 – Improved Light Quality – older industrial lighting solutions often have a yellow tinge. One valet operator complained about staff having a difficult time locating customer cars because of the yellow light. Cars were picked up in natural light and the make and color was noted on a claim ticket. The cars were then parked in a structure that used the yellow-tinged lights. The result was confusion and delays while attempting to retrieve cars that looked nothing like the color noted on the claim ticket.
Light quality is important in a wide variety of settings. Automobile dealerships, with large show rooms or car lots, require accurate color representation. High quality light (as opposed to the flicker and buzz of some fluorescent lights) has been shown to improved health and increase productivity in the work place. Any manufacturing operation that requires accurate visual evaluation benefits from high quality lighting. New advances in light technology (LED) can reproduce light quality similar to outdoor light using a fraction of the energy used in most technologies it replaces.
3 – Reduced Contractor Fees – the Internet of Things (IoT) now makes it possible to attach wireless nodes onto a building electrical system. With a few clicks of a computer a company can completely reconfigure their lighting or operations to accommodate changes in production or workspace usage. In the past, what would often require the use of a licensed electrical contractor, can now be done in seconds with the click of a mouse!
4 – Automatic Savings – Installing energy efficient products provides one level of energy savings. Automatically turning the same product off and on, or minimizing its unnecessary use through IoT technologies, provides expanded levels of savings. Many production facilities could reduce their light use when the sun is shining. If the task is left up to staff, the lights are often left on even in the middle of the day. When the process of dimming lights and shutting lights or equipment off is accomplished with sensors, infrared devices and computer programing (for breaks, shift changes, vacations etc.) the savings become automatic.
5 – Increased Production – EAG recently completed an energy renovation of a facility that processes 1000’s of cars each week. At the end of the production line each car was driven out of the facility into a parking lot through antiquated, industrial sized service doors. The process required a driver to pull up to the closed doors, get out of the car, push a button for the door to rise, drive out, and then reverse the process to close the door. The old doors took about 20 seconds to open, 20 seconds to close with 30 seconds in between. The complete cycle took 70 seconds! This released a massive amount of conditioned air and resulted in a significant waste of energy. EAG installed high speed, sensor activated, energy efficient doors. A driver now simply pulls up to the door, sensors open it automatically in 8 seconds, the driver pulls out, and the door closes in 8 seconds. The end result is a significant energy savings along with reduced operational time and an increase in the rate of production.
There are many benefits of energy efficiency upgrades beyond just the reduction of wasted energy. As manufacturing incorporates lean practices, the demand for efficiency and quality will be scrutinized at every stage of business. Understanding the unexpected benefits of energy efficiency can help a business maximize the potential of their operations.