Saving energy: why, how and where?

Energy-saving recommendations of the Carbon Trust have saved UK business an estimated £47 million.
Energy-saving recommendations of the Carbon Trust have saved UK business an estimated £47 million.
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A good place and a good way to start saving energy, reducing your energy costs and cutting your carbon footprint is to boil a kettle. Use the water to make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, then put your feet up with this issue of Know+How, and it will be a small energy cost with a quick and massive payback.

As energy costs continue to rise, and at an increasing rate, energy use is no longer simply an issue for energy-intensive businesses but for all businesses - and with good reason. For many businesses, a 20% cut in energy costs represents the same bottom line benefit as a 5% increase in sales. And though energy costs may be a small proportion of your total costs, they represent a significant proportion of controllable costs, and carry a high risk of being at least partly unnecessary.

Fortunately, and perhaps surprisingly, it's easy to reduce your energy consumption by as much as 20%, with simple, no- or low-cost measures. That's why the following section of Know+How is devoted entirely to energy-saving - to help you take the most cost-effective energy-saving steps with the fastest payback.

Of course it's hard to know how and where you can save energy unless you know how and where you are wasting it. But a walk-round of your premises, checking heating, lighting, office, factory and warehouse equipment can soon identify the kinds of places where energy-efficiency can be increased and energy savings made. It may be something as simple as ensuring all PCs are turned off at night, or it may be something larger scale, such as upgrading to motors with a higher energy-efficiency rating. But at whatever level you take action, the savings are there to be made.

Simply installing energy-efficiency lighting in your office could save you £650 per year (replacing 200 40W fluorescent tubes), whereas detecting and repairing a compressed air leak through a 5mm hole could save you £14,000 per year.

Some of these issues are things you can easily tackle yourself. After all, it doesn't take an expert to spot a PC that's switched on, or to know how to turn it off. But when the issues get more complex, and the solutions more technical, it can be helpful to have an experienced partner to ensure you really are identifying all the unnecessary energy costs, and realising all the potential energy savings. ERIKS, for example, can take you through a step-by-step process, from consultation to recommendation, and from supply, installation and commissioning to ongoing support, to help you achieve your energy-saving goals without compromising your productivity or profitability.

Of course, energy-saving is a huge topic beyond the scope of one magazine, let alone one special section of a magazine. So this special energy-saving section of Know+How concentrates on a number of specific topics.

It looks at two often overlooked areas for potential energy-savings - fans and pumps - and shows how much, and how easily, you can save through making the right choices. It considers the financial penalties of ignoring the energy-saving issue, the financial support available, and how you can access it. It looks at the new electric motor energy-efficiency ratings, and also at Permanent Magnet Motors: which could go a long way to redressing the balance whereby motors can outstrip their purchase price in energy costs in just a few weeks. The section also takes a look at Preventive Maintenance: how to identify faults, energy wastage and air leaks using the latest thermographic and ultrasonic equipment, before a minor problem turns into a costly crisis.

Saving energy is an exercise worth undertaking. So far, the energy-saving recommendations of the Carbon Trust have saved UK business an estimated £47 million. Experience also shows that there is almost always scope for energy-saving measures, with resulting cost-savings of at least 10%, and often as much as 20%. And these savings are generally achieved by simple measures with quick returns.

So now you know why; where is just over the page; and how is what you'll discover from reading on.

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