Energy savings? I don’t believe it

Energy savings are found by energy audits

Energy savings? I don’t believe it.


Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best. UK manufacturing needs to improve its productivity. An easy way of achieving this is to reduce energy costs. At least, so you would think.

Yet, a report from ABB suggest theory and practice are not the same when it concerns reducing energy costs. Two surprising facts have come to light. Firstly, most financial managers believe switching suppliers is the best way. Secondly, more efficient lighting is the choice of engineering managers. Last in a list of ten energy saving methods were variable speed drives (VSDs).

I don’t know why I am surprised. When the climate change levy came into force, the government increased energy costs. The idea was to encourage business to save energy by penalising it for not doing so. When challenged about the increase, one accountant responded, “no problem, it’s budgeted”. The thought of increasing capital expenditure to save energy was somehow outrageous. Even when the project delivered a payback within 12 months.


Is anyone out there?

On the off chance anyone influential is reading this, let me remind you. Motors consume over 60% of the energy used in industry and commerce. Many of them running all day, every day at full speed-even when they don’t need to. There are also proven methods of changing motor speeds to reduce energy consumption.

But how do we know variable speed drive will save money I hear you ask. When some of the biggest names in electrical engineering say so, that is a good sign. Names like ABB, Schneider Electric, Siemens, and Mitsubishi Electric.

Still need more proof? Consider asking one of these suppliers for an energy audit. ABB’s six-point energy-saving plan helps users understand their usage and identify savings.


Energy saving audit

At the heart of their 6-step plan is ABB’s energy audit. On a typical industrial site with a £150,000 annual electricity bill, £100,000 goes on running motors. One good question is, are any motors or fans running on full power all the time when they could demand driven? If you’re not sure, then the answer is a professional energy audit. An audit provides a good opportunity to look at a plant’s energy use and identify potential savings.

In an energy audit, trained engineers identify applications benefiting most by using VSDs. Measuring real application running costs helps users target their energy saving investment. This method adopts the users financial hurdle rates to identify their rate of return.

The outcome is an energy audit that presents compelling facts about the available energy savings. So found West of Scotland Water


West of Scotland Water

West of Scotland Water undertook an ABB energy audit and liked the outcome. For one of its pumping stations it expects to make lifetime savings in electricity costs of £80,000.

Installing two ABB VSDs at a Wastewater Pumping Station in Helensburgh doubled efficiency. Pump throughput increased from 14 to 30m3 per kWh consumed. The higher flow rate also reduces the future flooding risk.

The outcome is a fall in electricity consumption of 48%. This will deliver £80,000 energy saving. in electricity costs over a 20-year life span.

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