Just like automobiles, industrial facilities require periodic maintenance and tune ups to maintain optimum operating efficiency.
Even facilities that are running well in many respects often have not been optimized for energy efficiency. The automotive expression “your mileage may vary” can also be applied to industrial facilities, because operational procedures and set-points can have a significant impact on energy efficiency.
Energy efficiency tune-ups involve an intense effort over a relatively short period of time; usually three to five days. Cascade sends specially trained professionals who work hand-in-hand with facility personnel.
Over the course of a tune-up, the main focus is on the most energy intensive equipment, since this is where the largest reductions in energy usage are likely to be found. Cascade personnel will inventory the equipment, document current control settings and trends (where available), and check calibration of sensors for pressure, temperature and other important parameters. They will compare actual operating parameters with equipment manufacturers’ specifications and accepted efficient practices as a means of identifying potential opportunities for improved efficiency.
Cascade has performed hundreds of tune-ups and has never failed to find savings.
One common area where efficiencies are found is through optimizing performance of equipment under partial load conditions. In most industrial applications, major systems are designed to handle the maximum load they are likely to encounter. For example, a refrigeration system may be designed to maintain freezing temperatures even on the hottest day of the year. This means that, on every other day of the year, the system will be operating at partial load. Identifying the proper set-points, cycling equipment, and sequencing start-up of multiple pumps, fans, and compressors are some of the strategies that Cascade employs to optimize systems for maximum energy efficiency at partial loads.
Facility tune-ups conclude with a meeting with management and staff where the tune-up process and findings are reviewed.
This typically includes a combination of operating procedure and set-point changes made over the course of the tune-up, suggestions for no-cost/low-cost improvements and possible capital projects with major impact and short payback period.
Some items that might fall into the no-cost/low-cost category include:
• Modifying equipment set-points or operating procedures for more efficient operation
• Modifications to cleaning or servicing regimes of specific pieces of equipment that are not operating at peak efficiency
• Turning off pieces of equipment when they are not needed
• Repairing or replacing valves, switches and gauges that are not functioning properly resulting in increased energy usage
• Adding sensors or timers to automatically turn lights and other equipment on and off
A Cascade tune-up also includes a detailed follow-up report. This report summarizes what was found during the tune-up and Cascade’s estimate of how much energy can be saved both, in total and broken out by specific actions required.
Since a tune-up focuses on optimizing the operation of existing equipment, most of the efficiency opportunities identified can be implemented very quickly and at low cost.
As a result, these activities deliver excellent ROI. The results achieved at a specific facility depend on a number of factors including the type, age, and condition of plant equipment, baseline operating parameters and willingness of operators to participate and implement the action items identified. To date, Cascade has never identified less than 7% potential energy savings during a tune-up. Typical results are 10-15% identified savings and we have many examples where 20% or more were identified.
Cascade strongly recommends
continued monitoring of energy performance and ongoing engagement with a Cascade Energy engineer who regularly reviews results with facility personnel and provides guidance and coaching to drive continuous improvement. Through this approach, our customers consistently achieve continuing increases in energy efficiency over many years.