monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images
Getty Images 1365614868 63c86788e0584

Ten Energy Efficiency Actions to Reduce Costs and Emissions in the New Year

Jan. 18, 2023
Energy Efficiency Movement Playbook provides industrial companies, who account for 42% of electricity consumption, 10 tangible actions to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions.

As global energy prices and environmental regulations remain causes for concern, many are looking for ways to reduce costs and emissions. In response, ABB partnered with energy efficiency experts from the International Energy Agency, Microsoft, DHL Group and others to publish the Energy Efficiency Movement Playbook.  

The playbook provides industrial companies, who account for 42% of electricity consumption, 10 tangible actions to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions.

#1: Audit operations for energy efficiency.

One of the quickest and easiest sources of energy efficiency gains can come from optimizing the way assets and processes function. An energy efficiency audit creates an important baseline for a business to make improvements and identify improvement opportunities. Audits can be conducted by established energy service companies (ESCos) and will provide benchmarks to identify potential areas for efficiencies, develop action plans and measure progress.

#2: Right-size industrial assets and processes.

Detailed analysis of industrial assets often reveals that equipment tends to be bigger than needed for the job, according to Adrian Guggisberg, president of the motion services division at ABB. This is because a margin of error is usually factored into plant designs or simply because the operating conditions have changed over time. Cumulatively, the oversizing of many components can result in excessive energy use and inefficient device loading. Matching equipment capacities to loads can more accurately lead to efficient energy and asset use.

#3: Bring connectivity to physical assets.

Many industrial leaders do not have a clear view of where energy is used in their operations. By connecting physical assets using the industrial Internet of Things (IoT), companies can better understand how assets are used, enabling smarter, leaner operations.

#4: Install high-efficiency motors.

Powertrains are used in countless applications to convert electrical energy into motion. The main elements of an industrial electric powertrain are the motor, variable speed drive and the application itself, such as a pump, fan or compressor. More efficient motors tend to be more expensive but can yield important efficiency gains. Given the pervasiveness of motors in industry, a widespread transition to more efficient machines can lead to major energy consumption and emissions reductions.

#5: Use variable speed drives.

Variable speed drives are technologies used to control the speed of motors and the amount of torque produced, a crucial part of managing energy consumed by motor-driven systems. Energy demand is intelligently calibrated to match the amount of needed work.

#6: Electrify industrial fleets.

Growing momentum behind vehicle electrification is bringing down the cost of batteries and electric drivetrains. This, coupled with sustained high oil prices, is making electric powertrains an increasingly attractive proposition for industrial vehicles such as forklifts, mining vehicles, trucks and delivery vans.

#7: Use efficient, well-maintained heat exchangers.

Keeping a heat exchanger at its optimal performance level over time is crucial to ensure energy-efficient processes. This can be achieved by cleaning heat exchangers on a regular basis. Also, selecting the right heat exchanger technology can optimize energy efficiency for a given application.

#8: Switch gas boilers to heat pumps.

Heat pumps are seen as key for global decarbonization as a replacement for fuel-fired boilers. Industrial heat pumps make it possible to reuse excess heat from a process for other purposes, such as industrial process heating or space heating, avoiding the need for fuel-fired boilers.

#9: Deploy smart building management systems.

Industrial facilities can save energy and costs by installing digital controls for HVAC systems, lighting, blinds and more. These systems typically sense when people are no longer present in the environment and respond accordingly, dimming or switching off lights and closing windows and blinds to minimize wasted energy. Also, properly insulating buildings is perhaps one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways to save on energy.

#10: Move data to the cloud.

The technology industry has had a strong focus on energy efficiency. It has achieved impressive gains through concepts such as server virtualization and cloud computing. Further energy savings have been achieved through more efficient HVAC systems, motors, variable speed drives and the utilization of waste heat from data centers. Industrial organizations looking for greater energy efficiency can tap into many of these gains associated with more intelligent use of data and cloud-based management.

For detailed analysis about the energy efficiency actions, potential costs, anticipated results, and much more, visit the Energy Efficiency Movement Playbook.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of T&D World, create an account today!