Issue Focus: The Long-Term Value of Industrial Energy Efficiency
Energy Matters was a quarterly newsletter for DOE's Advanced Manufacturing Program (AMO). It provided in-depth technical articles to help industry professionals save energy, reduce costs, and increase productivity. These archived issues may contain broken links or information that is no longer accessible. Some of the following documents are available as Adobe Acrobat PDFs.
This issue illustrates the ways in which companies can continue to benefit and gain value from industrial energy efficiency and energy management practices for years to come.
In This Issue
- Why Your Plant Should Be Energy Efficient
- Owens Corning Builds Energy Efficiency into Both the Process and the Product
- ESA Experts: Training the Trainers in Texas
- "Top 10" Ways to Improve Process Heating and Steam Systems
- Spotlight: Dal-Tile Boosts Efficiency and Trims Costs with Help from DOE's AIRMaster+ Tool
Why Your Plant Should Be Energy Efficient
Since record-high oil and gas prices began falling again late last year, is it still a good idea to assess and improve your manufacturing plant's energy efficiency? We believe that it is.
Energy assessments, energy-efficient technologies, and industrial best practices could be among the wisest investments your company can make. Operating more energy efficiently increases your bottom line, freeing up funds for other pressing needs. It also benefits your community and the environment as a whole by conserving natural resources and reducing harmful emissions. And energy efficiency can be an important part of a successful long-term strategy for savings.
Potential to Save Both Energy and Money
When hurricanes devastated the Gulf Coast region in 2005, domestic oil and gas supplies were severely disrupted and costs rapidly shot upward. By the end of the year, natural gas prices had risen to $16 per million Btu in some U.S. spot markets, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission—more than double the average price in May of that year.
As part of its response to the crisis, the federal government released some valuable oil reserves. Plants that relied on natural gas, however, had little choice but to look for every opportunity for savings. One result was that hundreds of plant managers applied for a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Savings Assessment (ESA) of their steam or process heating systems in 2006. Hundreds more requested other assistance from DOE, such as training in the use of the DOE Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) assessment software tools, in order to start trimming energy use and costs as quickly as possible.
Many plants discovered opportunities to use best practices in energy management in their key process energy systems. Others found that an equipment upgrade designed to increase the efficiency of an industrial system can pay for itself through energy cost savings in a relatively short time.
Marc Montemayor, a system engineer at Texas Instruments, says, "DOE provided an extremely professional and knowledgeable (ESA Energy Expert) who brought a fresh perspective, new ideas, and energy savings opportunities that applied to our system."
Results tallied for the first 200 ESAs conducted in 2006 show that the ESA Energy Experts and participating plants identified opportunities to save a total of about 52 trillion Btu of natural gas per year. That's as much as about 723,000 typical U.S. households would use in a year, and it represents nearly $485 million in potential annual energy cost savings.
Reducing Demand—and Emissions
Even in efficient manufacturing plants like Eastman Kodak's in Rochester, New York, assessments reveal good opportunities for savings. Kodak's 2006 ESA identified near-term, no- and low-cost opportunities that added up to an 11% potential reduction in annual natural gas usage. Efficiency measures included reducing the plant's steam demand through boiler improvements and modifying the feedwater heat recovery system.
Another steam system ESA conducted at General Motors' assembly plant in Flint, Michigan, identified opportunities to reduce annual natural gas usage by about 8%. Recommendations included decommissioning unused air supply houses (ASH), ensuring that dampers operate properly on ASH units in use, implementing a new steam trap maintenance program, and reducing boiler blowdown.
And an ESA conducted at a Kraft Foods plant in Campbell, New York, uncovered opportunities to reduce natural gas costs by more than 13% per year. These savings could be realized by improving boiler efficiency and reducing steam demand through such measures as installing direct-contact water heaters and using no. 2 fuel oil for backup to obtain a more favorable utility rate.
In all, nearly $200 million in energy-saving projects were either completed, underway, or in the planning stages at more than 115 plants by early 2007.
Steve Schultz of 3M Corporation says his plant's assessment "helped us identify opportunities. Had we not done the assessment, I don't think we would be aware of them...and we wouldn't be working toward implementing them."
These energy and cost savings are not the whole story, however. If U.S. industries implement the recommendations coming out of the ESAs, they will reduce the total annual growth in carbon dioxide emissions in this country by at least 7%.
The Outlook for Natural Gas
It can be tricky to predict changes in energy prices, because the reasons for these fluctuations are many and complex. Some analysts say that the drop in natural gas prices in late 2006 was caused in part by milder than usual weather conditions, particularly during the hurricane season, which reduced demand and helped the nation build up reserves again. Other analysts note that even small disruptions in supplies can lead to huge swings in prices. They see a future upward trend as inevitable.
Atmospheric scientists at Colorado State University and elsewhere are forecasting that at least one major hurricane will strike the southeastern United States in 2007. If this is correct and supplies are disrupted again, oil and natural gas prices could climb. Even in mild hurricane seasons, however, there are upward pressures on prices.
For example, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects natural gas to cost more this winter because it will be colder in many parts of the nation than it was in 2006, which increases demand. In its second-quarter 2006 report on the outlook for oil and gas, Business Monitor International predicts a 50% growth in demand for natural gas in the United States by 2010, along with a drop in domestic production. Imports of natural gas will have to increase substantially to meet increasing demand, and this can drive up prices.
The EIA foresees gradual but steady increases in prices between 2016 and 2030. In his statement to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in February 2006, EIA Administrator Guy Caruso said that in the long term, "growth in liquefied natural gas imports, Alaskan production, and lower-48 production from unconventional sources are not expected to increase sufficiently to offset the impacts of resource depletion and increased demand in the lower-48 states."
Future price fluctuations seem to be virtually assured. Plants that use energy efficiently will be ahead of the game when those swings occur.
Start Saving Today
How can your plant be one of the winners? ITP BestPractices resources can help. These resources can assist you in formulating the long-term strategies that allow your company to thrive in the face of constantly changing energy costs.
In addition, if your plant consumes at least 1 trillion Btu per year, or you can meet that requirement in combination with one to 10 other plants, you can apply for an ESA this year. DOE is accepting applications for ESAs until 5 p.m. eastern time on April 13, 2007.
To achieve the biggest impact on natural gas usage in 2006, ESAs focused on plants' steam or process heating systems. In 2007, ESA Energy Experts can assess a plant's compressed air, fan, or pump system, as well. New cost-sharing options are also available.
In addition, small- to medium-sized plants can contact a regional Industrial Assessment Center for information and assistance. And ITP training in the use of assessment tools is available to plants of any size, as are all ITP BestPractices resources.
You can also find many good ways to reduce your energy use and costs on DOE's latest Save Energy Now CD-ROM. This CD brings together a wealth of energy-saving tips, case studies, technical manuals, and software tools—all in one package—that help you assess the best opportunities for savings at your site.
Alexander Karsner, DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, says, "These Energy Department CD-ROMs, packed with energy-saving information, offer valuable information and energy-saving tools to enable plant managers to reduce their energy costs and alleviate price pressures nationally."
Options like these will allow your company to stay productive, prosper, and weather any storm.
For more information on assessments, application forms, results, and other resources for saving energy, please see the Save Energy Now Web site or contact the EERE information Center, 877-337-3463. And for more on the Save Energy Now CD ROM, or to order one, see our Web site.
Owens Corning Builds Energy Efficiency into Both the Process and the Product
At Owens Corning, energy efficiency takes center stage, and not just because the company's main product is glass fiber insulation for buildings. It is also because energy efficiency is important to the company itself, which comprises more than 125 manufacturing plants in 25 countries.
This focus on efficiency is producing measurable results. "We've reduced our energy intensity by more than 15% since 2002," says Gale Tedhams, Owens Corning Director of Sustainability.
Owens Corning has accomplished this by integrating best practices in energy management into its day-to-day operations. Energy efficiency is the subject of ongoing discussions not only among managers, energy teams, and staff but also with customers, suppliers, and utilities.
"This conversation has been at the core of what we have brought to the market for 68 years," Tedhams says.
Although Owens Corning insulation products are designed to save energy, manufacturing them is an energy-intensive process. "As you can imagine, it takes a lot of heat to melt glass," says Michele Mazza, project leader for energy-use reductions throughout the Insulating Systems Division. Therefore, reducing the amount of energy used in the company's process heat, fan, and compressed air systems is a priority.
Keeping in Touch
To reduce overall energy use, each plant in the company has an energy leader who is also part of a company-wide energy team. Team members stay in close contact about ways to further improve its impressive track record in industrial energy efficiency.
Plant energy leaders participate in conference calls about twice a month with their counterparts at other plants to share ideas and best practices for saving energy and keeping costs in line. Meeting minutes are distributed to all the company's leaders, not just those on energy teams.
Information and tools that plants can use to reduce their energy use are posted on the company's corporate intranet, which also includes links to numerous resources and energy-saving tips like the ones recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Industrial Technologies Program. Posters containing energy tips grace the walls of individual plants. And plant newsletters also feature energy information and tips tailored to a plant's operations.
The company hosts energy symposia for plant personnel as well as the larger community; one is scheduled for this coming September in Ohio. Three community energy fairs held to date have emphasized sustainability and gained support from local utilities. Owens Corning also has a "Think Pink" toll-free number that homeowners, builders, architects, and engineers can call with questions about company products and insulation in general.
Walking the Talk
In addition to this continual exchange of information, the company has a number of overall strategies, techniques, and tools for containing energy costs. Individual plants meter their energy-using systems to help track actual usage. Metering and submetering help to keep plants informed about where additional conservation strategies are needed. Plant energy teams often work with local utilities and others to implement energy-saving improvements.
For example, an Owens Corning insulation plant in Salt Lake City, Utah, recently partnered with a power company and an engineering firm to identify ways to reduce the amount of electricity the plant was using for compressed air. Several energy efficiency measures were developed and then approved for implementation. A baseline energy analysis was performed while the efficiency measures were being identified, and a similar analysis was conducted after new equipment was installed and commissioned. According to Owens Corning, the final analysis demonstrated that efficiency measures were reducing the plant's electricity use by nearly 1.3 million kWh per year, or 6% overall.
Implemented measures included installing a 600-horsepower compressor, a 10,000-gal. air receiver, a process flow controller, and high-efficiency engineered nozzles used for cleaning equipment. The plant also replaced a compressed air equipment dryer with a high-volume blower and installed equipment designed to lower overall air demand. In addition, a new state-of-the-art air leak detector was acquired.
As part of an ongoing commitment to savings, the Salt Lake City plant's energy team will continue to look for new ways to reduce energy use. Plant Leader Paul H. Griffin says that successful energy reduction projects like this are proof that the company is "walking the talk."
Making Good Use of DOE Resources
Over the years, Owens Corning has also made good use of the many resources provided by DOE's Industrial Technologies Program. Sourcebooks, tip sheets, and other valuable resources have all provided proven methods and tools for use in training staff and instituting company-wide best practices.
For example, staff at several plants have contacted experts at the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Information Center for information and assistance on how to—
- Set up an energy management program
- Improve compressed air efficiency
- Use software to calculate the energy required to melt glass when different raw materials are used
- Use absorption chillers to utilize a plant's waste heat
- Use the MotorMaster+ software tool to cut motor system energy costs.
"Any company looking to launch an energy conservation program should tap into the resources that the Industrial Technologies Program has to offer," Mazza says. "ITP's sourcebooks and tip sheets were distributed to all our plant energy leaders and were a springboard to identifying energy savings opportunities. We plan to take advantage of ITP's training in 2007 as well as DOE's Energy Savings Assessments in order to better utilize software tools for validating and justifying energy projects."
One Owens Corning plant received a DOE Energy Savings Assessment (ESA) in 2006, and several more ESAs throughout the company are scheduled for 2007. They will look at different industrial systems (for example, process heating, steam, and compressed air) for opportunities to save energy and money and to validate energy-saving measures proposed for systems targeted by the company's energy teams. The company plans to take advantage of the training provided in the 2007 ESAs to conduct further assessments throughout its operations.
Working with DOE to Conserve Energy
Owens Corning has partnered with DOE and others on such research projects as one to develop a three-dimensional model of the melting process. The company has also helped to demonstrate a high-luminosity, low-emissions burner developed by researchers at the Gas Research Institute.
As part of its work with DOE, Owens Corning has been a corporate sponsor of DOE's popular Energy Savers booklet to spread the word about potential savings to consumers. This booklet has already educated thousands of people about good ways to reduce energy costs, and it is available in both English and Spanish versions.
Tedhams says, "To be on the edge of pushing our company's product and operational performance to the next level, while at the same time finding new and different ways to engage stakeholders in how they can make a difference in their own way, is fundamental to our thinking and incredibly rewarding."
ESA Experts: Training the Trainers in Texas
To get ready for this year's round of Energy Savings Assessments, or ESAs, at some of the nation's largest manufacturing plants, about 60 industry professionals gathered in Dallas, Texas, in December 2006.
Known as U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) ESA Energy Experts, the attendees had already passed rigorous exams in order to become DOE Industrial Technology Program (ITP) Qualified Specialists. They then received additional training in conducting ESAs, as part of a national effort to assist industry in reducing energy use and trimming energy costs while curbing environmental emissions. Approximately 250 new assessments are planned for 2007 on top of the 200 completed in 2006.
"This year's assessments are different from typical ones," says Dr. Greg Harrell, an engineer for Energy Management Services in Tennessee and Lead Technical Advisor for the ESA Steam Group.
The main difference is that an ESA Energy Expert will be providing training while working alongside a team of plant professionals to assess a particular industrial system, such as process heating or compressed air. This change provides plant personnel with the knowledge needed to continue to assess and improve their plants' energy use and to replicate assessments at other plants, long after the DOE expert has left the building.
How You Can Become an ESA Energy Expert
If you're an engineer or other type of professional with expertise in industrial systems and would like to add titles such as "DOE Qualified Specialist" and "ESA Energy Expert" to your portfolio, the Department of Energy's Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) would like to hear from you.
DOE's Qualified Specialists are trained in using DOE-developed software tools to assess energy use and savings opportunities in industrial compressed air, fan, process heating, pumping, or steam systems. Qualified Specialists must pass an exam at the end of a two- to three-day specialist training session developed by ITP and its partners. New sessions for those specializing in various industrial systems are coming up in March, April, May, and June 2007. Space is limited and advance registration is required, so please see the specialist training sessions in the list of trainings on the ITP BestPractices Web site for details.
Being recognized as a Qualified Specialist is the first step in becoming one of the "Best of the Best," an ESA Energy Expert. A mentoring program is being developed to prepare Qualified Specialists for ESAs, focused assessments of industrial process heating, steam, compressed air, fan, or pumping systems, and to help them train in-plant personnel in using DOE software tools. Be sure to check the Save Energy Now Web site over the next several weeks for details.
Clear Objectives for ESAs
The assessments will benefit from the Texas meeting because the ESA Energy Experts are well prepared for their 2007 assignments. The experts will be able to help manufacturing plants by—
Being flexible. Each system and each site will have different issues to deal with (for example, specific issues with compressed air).
Keeping DOE's goals in mind. The experts will conduct training in energy management for a specific system, train people to use DOE assessment tools, and do a field evaluation.
Identifying real projects. The experts will design justifiable, tangible, and repeatable projects that save energy and money.
Setting expectations early. The experts will clarify expectations early on, letting plant personnel know that they cannot do everything but will focus on specific systems and specific elements of that system.
Quickly identifying focus areas. The experts will identify quickly what they will focus on (for example, compressor controllers or dryers).
"The main attribute DOE wants to convey is that the plant's team is vital to this process," Harrell says.
New Power to Help Industry
DOE's energy analysis software tools are making the whole process much easier, says ESA Energy Expert Frank Moskowitz, who attended the Texas meeting. Moskowitz says the new tools discussed at the meeting gave him "a new power to help industry" he didn't have before.
"The new tools also give us a new reason to approach old customers who have turned down energy audits in the past," Moskowitz says.
Quick PEP, for example, is a new Web-based energy performance analysis tool that allows users to see how energy is generally being used in their plants.
The challenge for the ESA Energy Experts this year is to help customers make the most of an ESA and understand how to use ITP BestPractices software tools regularly to continue finding specific energy-saving opportunities. DOE encourages plants to apply for an ESA soon, to benefit not only from the assessment but also from the expert training that comes with it.
"Top 10" Ways to Improve Process Heating and Steam Systems
To help U.S. manufacturers reduce their energy use and operating costs, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) conducted 200 expert Energy Savings Assessments (ESAs) of U.S. industrial steam and process heating systems in 2006.
The ESAs were conducted at energy-intensive plants in such industries as aerospace, aluminum, chemicals, electronics, food processing, forest products, glass, metal casting, and steel. In each assessment, professionally trained ESA Energy Experts using DOE Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) software tools worked with in-plant staff to evaluate the plant's process heating or steam system and identify opportunities for savings.
Potential annual energy cost savings for those 200 assessments totaled approximately $485 million. Implementing the energy-saving improvements recommended in the ESAs could trim the participating plants' yearly energy costs by an average of 7%. Even if your plant didn't schedule an ESA in 2006, however, or you haven't applied for one in 2007, you can still make use of ITP's many resources to start saving today.
To help you get started, here are the 10 most frequent ESA recommendations for improving process heating and steam systems, from a list of more than 40 compiled following the 2006 ESAs. Links to helpful DOE ITP BestPractices tip sheets follow each recommendation. The tip sheets contain more information and resources to help you optimize the energy efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness of your plant.
Some of the following documents are available as Adobe Acrobat PDFs. Download Adobe Reader.
1. Improve boiler efficiency (steam)
2. Reduce steam demand by changing process steam requirements (steam)
3. Improve insulation (steam)
4. Reduce the oxygen content of flue (exhaust) gases (process heating)
5. Implement a steam trap maintenance program (steam)
6. Change condensate recovery rates (steam)
7. Modify the feedwater heat recovery exchanger using boiler blowdown (steam)
8. Properly insulate and maintain furnace structure or parts (process heating)
9. Add or modify operation of backpressure steam turbine (steam)
10. Implement a steam leak maintenance program (steam)
For more information about how to improve your plant's process heating or steam system efficiency, please see the following ITP resources.
Improving process heating system efficiency:
- More process heating tip sheets
- Improving Process Heating System Performance: A Sourcebook for Industry (PDF 1.2 MB) Download Adobe Reader.
- More technical handbooks, guides, and technical briefs on process heating
- Process Heating Assessment and Survey Tool (software)
- Process heating assessment training
Improving steam system efficiency:
- More steam system tip sheets
- Improving Steam System Performance: A Sourcebook for Industry (PDF 1.26 MB) Download Adobe Reader.
- More technical handbooks, guides, and technical briefs on steam systems
- Suite of Steam System Assessment Tools (software)
- Steam system assessment training
And for more information about ESAs, including those planned for 2007, please visit the ITP Save Energy Now Web site.
Dal-Tile Boosts Efficiency and Trims Costs with Help from DOE's AIRMaster+ Tool
Dal-Tile Corporation knows the value of energy efficiency. When an assessment of the compressed air system in its glazed tile manufacturing plant in Dallas, Texas, showed significant potential for energy savings, the company decided to upgrade the system's efficiency. As a result, Dal-Tile is realizing savings of 5.7 million kWh and $288,000 in energy and maintenance costs annually.
The Dallas plant is the site of the company's first glazed wall tile manufacturing operation. Compressed air is needed in dense phase transfer systems, dust collectors, air cylinders, and other equipment. Before the 2002 upgrades, the plant's compressed air system had been experiencing erratic air quality and wide fluctuations in pressure, which resulted in inconsistent product quality and excessive energy costs.
So, as part of a corporate initiative to reduce energy and operating costs, the plant commissioned Air Science Engineering, a U.S. Department of Energy Allied Partner, to assess the system using the AIRMaster+ software tool developed for DOE.
The recommendations resulting from the assessment included installing a 10,000-gallon storage receiver and a pressure/flow controller to stabilize system pressure. Other improvements included upgrading the system's controls, air treatment capacity, and piping network.
Together, these measures improved the compressed air system's air quality and stabilized the pressure level. The plant now needs to have only three or four compressors in operation under any demand conditions, rather than the nine compressors that operated before the upgrades. Since the total cost of the system improvements was $278,000, the simple payback was just under a year.
Established in 1947, Dal-Tile Corporation is the largest manufacturer, distributor, and marketer of ceramic tile and natural stone in the United States. Headquartered in Dallas, the company has 10 production facilities in the United States and Mexico and sells its products through a network of more than 200 company-owned sales service centers, independent distributors, and leading home center retailers nationwide.
Please see the Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) "Performance Spotlights" online for more information and details about system upgrades at Dal-Tile (PDF 213 KB) and at other plants. Download Adobe Reader. You can also obtain AIRMaster+ and other DOE software assessment tools free of charge by downloading them from the ITP Web site.
Dean Smith, Director of Marketing for Quincy Compressors and Manager of Air Science Engineering, has more than 15 years of experience as a consultant in compressed air and gas system analysis. He has audited more than 500 compressed air systems in a variety of industries, published many articles on compressed air topics, and developed patents on compressed air system components and evaluation methodologies. He is a Qualified Instructor for the Compressed Air Challenge (CAC) Fundamentals and Advanced Management training and was a member of the core group that developed this training.
NOTICE: This online publication was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States government. Neither the United States government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States government or any agency thereof.