Is your Manufacturing Facility Energy Auditor the Right Match?

Is your Manufacturing Facility Energy Auditor the Right Match?

Have you have decided to optimize your energy spends? Are you contemplating an energy audit? That is great news. 

However, exercise caution and avoid any energy audit disasters (yes, they are a thing). The first hindrance to a good energy audit is choosing the wrong auditor. This is very likely because anyone and everyone today is claiming to be an energy auditor. Above this, it isn’t easy to choose an auditor because there is barely any consistency in their understanding of an energy audit.

Here is how you may be in for an energy audit mistake-

Certified & Accredited Energy Auditors

The dwindling world economy has made everyone insecure with unemployment and low wages. It is thus natural that those who aren’t earning are looking out for ways to earn. 

Energy consulting as a sector hasn’t been affected by the slowdown as yet. The companies are still hiring. The demand for energy auditors has also surged because most companies are targeting cost cuts. This has offered promising avenues to energy auditors. Don’t be surprised if you see real estate managers, mechanical contractors, electrical contractors, and even equipment dealers offering to audit your manufacturing facility. 

With the advent of ginormous companies in the domain, the unemployed are seeking to learn to be energy auditors. In a way, this is good because the soaring competition has made the audit costs go down. However, the quality of audits is suffering due to inexperienced players in the market. Some of them are just acting as brokers and outsourcing the process. It is a good idea to look into their experience.

Standard Energy Audit Requirements

This is one of the major reasons that leaves people confused or with an ineffective audit. Imagine a company conducting an energy audit in 5 hours, whereas another taking a month to do the same. As a customer, it isn’t easy to assess what is ideal. The American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has come up with clearly defined requisites of energy audits to deal with this. These are divided into three levels. The idea behind this was to ensure that all auditors perform the same steps to achieve the same quality of the report. However, it hasn’t been achieved as it was intended to.

Below are the ways that can help you make the right decision and save your money:

Cost of Energy Audit

In current times, it is not unlikely that you may get energy offers as low as your local plumber’s cost. Remember that choosing a good auditor that has studied energy and has technical expertise will cost a lot more. Remember, good quality comes at a price. Opt for experienced and credentialed energy auditors.

How to Avail a Free Energy Audit?

Some companies offer free audits or those at very low prices. This is often because the company will try to sell a device that claims to offer energy savings. Some other vendors like to perform the energy-saving measures for you once the flaws are spotted in the audit. While the second kind is more likely to perform a comprehensive audit, the former won’t. This is because their audit will be focused only on their offering. As a result, you may lose some significant energy-saving opportunities. Some non-profit organizations also perform free audits, but inexperienced auditors, unfortunately, conduct those. It is thus important to know the intent and also to research a bit about their experience.

Is the Auditor an Experienced Energy Auditor?

Energy auditing requires knowledge of stuff like chillers. Air handlers, control systems, boilers, etc., in addition to lighting fixtures and fans. There is a lot more to energy auditing that needs time to build competency. It requires vast experience for someone to be a good energy auditor. Inexperienced auditors may be cheap but cannot deliver at a strategic level, keeping in mind your business objective. Some suggestions may even cause equipment damage. It is thus critical to focus on the experience. Look for at least ten years of experience in a firm that you consider. It is a good idea to ask who will perform the audit, look at their credentials, and check with previous organizations.

Tips to Evaluate & Select a Successful Energy Audit Firm

  1. Take a quote from and assess 3-4 companies before choosing the best
  2. Ask for sample audits and compare the quality of analysis
  3. Check with firms they recently audited 
  4. Ask for detailed proposals of their mode of operation

If you have a small manufacturing facility and too many steps seem like overkill to you, relax your assessment criteria but do not choose solely based on price. For help and support for your energy auditing needs, call SkillDemand Energy today!


 

How to Reduce Energy Cost in a Manufacturing Facility?

How to Reduce Energy Cost in a Manufacturing Facility?

Manufacturing firms, irrespective of scale, spend significantly on energy. Processes related to production are most energy-intensive. Saving on energy spends is a great way to increase margins. However, significant savings require a well-designed and targeted strategy. If you do not have a strategy as yet, now is the time to have one.

Begin with recognizing processes that are consuming more energy. An energy audit is a great way to do it. It will inspect and evaluate your production equipment, HVAC, lighting systems, etc. An internal assessment team can go about with the audit. Several manufacturers do this to track their energy spends and make beneficial changes. However, if you do not have team members who can handle this, you may outsource the task to energy experts.

Ways to Reduce Energy Cost in a Manufacturing Facility

Check if compressed air systems have leaks

Wasted energy accounts for a lot of unnecessary expenses. You can bank on instant savings if you fix energy leaks. These leaks cause a lot of wastage. Many reports show that nearly 20-30% of a compressor’s output is lost due to leaks. Over this, this also significantly reduces the efficacy of the equipment. An air leak survey is one of the ways that will help spot leaks. It is a good idea to invest in or rent ultrasonic detection equipment to spot even small leaks. Fixing leaks isn’t as tough as it may seem. Replacing seals, fixing welding gaps, tightening loose tubes, and replacing worn-out stuff are some general fixes that your manufacturing facility may need.

Invest in better and upgraded equipment

Technological advancements ensure that new and improved equipment is launched in the market. Apart from offering additional capabilities, upgraded equipment is also energy efficient. You can opt for retro-commissioning to check if all equipment is offering optimal output. If not, you must replace the outdated equipment. We do not mean only the production line equipment by equipment; it could also be simple appliances such as fans and computers. You must perform periodic evaluation and maintenance of all appliances to keep your energy spends in check.

Ensure your lighting systems do not drain too much energy

While manufacturing units need to be well lit, it doesn’t mean you stick to old lighting systems that drain energy. Install modern energy-efficient lighting systems to achieve energy savings. Industrial LEDs are the latest recommendation to help achieve maximum savings. Also, consider putting lights only where it is required. You can remove individual bulbs in equipment placed in well-lit areas. This may seem meager but will help you save money in the long run.

Avoid running all equipment 24*7

Most manufacturers commit the mistake of letting all equipment run round the clock. Shutting down the equipment at the end of the day is a great way to save energy. Also motivate employees to turn off fans, air-conditioners, and computers when not in use. Again, you may think that these expenses are not significant. However, the saving may add to be enough to buy you new equipment in the long run.
Optimize process heating: Process heating is common in most manufacturing facilities. It also accounts for nearly 30% of energy consumption in a unit. You can save energy from this process in the following ways:

  1. Recover waste heat by installing recovery systems
  2. Opt for fuels with better combustion efficiency
  3. Install automatic blowdown control systems
  4. Ensure that the furnace is installed properly
  5. Effectively control exhaust gases

Optimize on value hours

Sometimes, electrical costs vary according to the time of the day. It is a good idea to reassess if processes that require high amounts of energy can be conducted in those hours. Manufacturing businesses must try and avoid peak hours to help keep energy spends in check.

Bring employees on-board with the idea

Everyone at your unit must be willing to save energy or not be easy to achieve goals. Hold talks and seminars and convey the importance of energy savings. Try and give them sizeable numbers to achieve savings. Talk positively and empower them to make better decisions concerning energy savings. Reward ideas that can be employed and can contribute productively to the goals. Put into perspective how their efforts will help them score better equipment and work conditions at the facility.

Conclusion

It would help if you came up with a well-defined strategy that encompasses all the above to achieve considerable energy savings. Most manufacturing practices that employ these best practices have reported better results and more profitability. For help and support for your energy auditing needs, call SkillDemand Energy today!