Lowering your carbon footprint

Okay, I know, this is a very popular topic of conversation. Everyone has to say they care about the environment. If you don’t, nobody likes you anymore, and people think you are a bad person.

So… I am going to do this a little differently: What about looking at the costs?

Just assume I do not care about trees, CO2 and such, but I am a bad person and want to make as much money as I can with my big production facility, without thinking about my carbon footprint. Eventually I have to take a look at it, simply because using energy costs a lot of money. Therefore, saying you care about the environment tells me you are greedy, and want to pay less for your energy.

This is not as hard as you may think.

Most companies have no idea what amount of energy goes through their production machine. I am not only talking about electricity, but also the air that is being pumped into it by that big compressor.

If you want to lower your energy bill, you should do the following:

Step 1

Determine how much energy you use for every step in your production – and don’t forget the stuff like the big noisy fans that look like part of the factory interior.

There are several ways of doing this: Maybe the control systems of your machines already monitor energy usage? If not, you can upgrade them with an energy kW/h meter and an airflow meter. Another way is just to read the nameplate and make a calculated assumption of the energy usage. Then you’ll know the energy costs for every product that is shipped out.

Step 2

Make a list of the biggest energy hogs in your factory. Which part of that machine or equipment is using the most energy?

Is it still using a standard AC motor? Can we exchange it with a IE3 (higher efficiency class) motor? How is it switched? Does it really need to be on all the time? What if we upgrade the control system, so we can control the working hours for when it is actually needed?

It is hard to believe how much money, uh I mean energy is just thrown away, simply because nobody has taken the effort to examine if that part really needs to be on all the time.

Step 3

Look for a way to subsidize.

Governments also want to be good people and to be liked, so they say they care about the environment, too. They show this by coming up with ways to subsidize energy saving investments. Wow, you can save even more money!

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