ENERGY CONSERVATION PROJECT
This project formed part of a much larger project to audit and document all the Energy Demand and Consumption in a manufacturing facility.
The overall objective of this larger project was to identify opportunities for operating a manufacturing facility on the principles of LEAN by focusing on the reduction in wastage of Energy and optimizing its usage. The elimination of energy wastage not only has a direct impact on the costs of the business but can also yield an environmental and marketing dividend by reducing carbon emissions and promoting the business as a KEEN, LEAN and GREEN progressive company.
The cost saving opportunities were analysed using a hierarchical approach, initially focusing on inefficiencies and consumption where demand reduction required no capital investment but focused on such areas as behavioral change. Further opportunities for cost reductions were assessed, by focusing on areas where low capital investment was required with payback periods of under one year such as the installation of variable speed inverters to lower motor speeds according to the production requirements. Finally areas where large capital investment was required but yielded attractive payback opportunities were also assessed.
The engagement of staff and the setting up of an Energy Reduction Group, within the company, to promote awareness of energy costs and the benefits of conservation, had a significant impact on delivering behavioral change on energy usage such as lighting, machine usage, heating requirements and operational methods. There was a 10% reduction in overall Energy cost over a 5 year period.
The larger project outcome demonstrated that it would be possible for an SME to use LEAN tools to eliminate waste in Energy consumption to make significant cost savings for very little input while simultaneously reducing its carbon footprint. Such strategy can yield not only an Environmental but also a Marketplace dividend in promoting the business as KEEN, LEAN and GREEN.