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How can you tackle energy waste?

Grainne McDonogh News & Updates

The costs of energy is usually after staff and raw materials and is the highest cost of operating a business. The majority of business owners and managers just accept what the cost is. We have carried out a detailed survey and found some very interesting results:

  • A 100-bed hotel must sell a fully booked hotel for 1 month to pay for energy. That doesn’t include the cost of the staff, the facility and the consumed products during that free month.
  • Non-food manufacturing must produce products for 45 working days to pay for energy and that excludes the cost of staff facilities and raw material. 17% of the production cost is energy. A 20% saving or reduction in waste makes the company 4% more competitive compared to their direct competitors.
  • Food process manufacturing must produce 60 days of free production to pay for the energy consumption. A 20% reduction in usage or waste elimination equals a 7% competitive advantage.
  • Transport: a freight forwarding company must travel 22,000 miles fully loaded to pay for the wasted energy consumption of the company. A 17% disadvantage in a competitive market – all lost due to waste.
  • 95% of all companies consume 12% of annual energy while closed or empty. All wasted, raising cost of operation and damaging competitiveness.

Cooling and chiller systems consume enormous quantities of energy. Changing the operation cycle and adding a freezer bank will achieve 30% saving.

Having a different approach to energy consumption and changing how we operate to reduce wasted energy is the best method for saving money and improving business competitiveness. As an example, implementing better controls on a steam boiler will save you 15% of energy consumption.

Behaviour changes the Irish solution to an Irish question. What do you do in an office where the air con is humming away the heating pumping through the radiators? You open a window! Improved or intelligent control of heating and cooling will achieve 22% reduction in energy wastage. Don’t rely on your BMS as it is very often the biggest culprit of energy waste.

Multi-site business coffee shops, newsagents, grocery stores, etc. one change in behaviour achieved €490 saving per month in just one store.

Across a network of 100 stores the saving to a business will be €588,000 in just one year. This is free saving and no capital investment.

The majority of waste and over spend on energy comes from simple poor practice and bad controls. A perfect example is the control of storage heating. Storage heating is often on from September to May. Every night, even when the facility is empty on Saturday or Sunday, or as we saw this in March temperatures hitting 20 degrees for a full week and the storage heating was still consuming massive amounts of energy every night. The solution is simple remote override subject to local conditions and good timer / scheduling control.

The biggest obstacle to a company not saving on energy usage is lethargy! Don’t do anything and just keep on doing what you are doing! The problem will not go away… but it’s not a nagging problem and when you do have to do something to cut cost, it is often too late for a business to save the millions wasted every year. My advice is do something about it, get active and add energy to your monthly management meeting agenda. Make it an important topic for the security of your business.