There are a number of compelling reasons to want to optimize industrial and commercial power systems as soon as possible.
The first is your company’s bottom line. While inefficiency might seem like the path of least resistance, the cost of missed opportunity is high. Efficiency is much like saving up spare pocket change over the course of months or years; it might feel low impact in the moment, but you’d be surprised by how much your efforts have added up over time. The good news is it’s entirely possible to measure the return on investment (ROI) an organization experiences after taking measures to optimize power usage — and it’s oftentimes substantial enough to get even the most skeptical, revenue-minded leader on board.
Another reason to aim for more optimized power usage for your business is to reduce harmful carbon emissions. Bonus: Your company will have even more demonstrable eco-friendly efforts to share with customers and stakeholders.
Energy strategy has taken a front seat for these reasons, causing it to “become a C-suite issue.”
Here are three ways to go about optimizing industrial and commercial power systems.
Automate Building Energy Usage
One area to explore is building automation, which centralizes and makes intelligent the control of various systems — like lighting, fans, heating, cooling, plumbing, security and equipment. In addition to bringing down the cost of your utility bills, it prevents perfectly good energy from dissipating into thin air, so to speak.
Reduce Loads on Motors/Lighting
Production is contingent on having working equipment. When machinery goes down, some or all of the manufacturing process can grind to a halt. While downtime in and of itself is expensive, there’s also the cost of fixing or replacing the faulty equipment to tally. So, it behooves companies to do everything they can to extend the longevity of their equipment.
One way to minimize equipment strain is to optimize the contactors used to switch circuits — like those containing lighting and electric motors — on and off. Contactors provide another layer of protection against high-current incidents that can cause equipment damage and harm to workers. Many contactors incorporate overload heaters, which can sense when a motor has overheated and powers the motor down automatically.
It’s important to make sure the contactors used in commercial or industrial settings are well-suited to the job they’re doing. Using a lighting contactor for a motor application, for instance, can range from inefficient at minimum to downright dangerous. It’s worth auditing your current contactors to see if there are any connections warranting upgrades or replacements.
Retrofit & Replace Outdated Equipment
Speaking of upgrades and replacements, it’s important to consider the age and condition of equipment when considering how they’re helping or hindering efficiency. Some machines and components may require replacement, while others can benefit from retrofitting to keep up with the latest technological advancements.
Here’s one example: You may be able to upgrade certain switchgear components to expand functionality, including connectivity with new intelligent systems.
Wondering whether it’s worthwhile to modernize your system? Consider these factors:
- How reliable has the part/machine been recently?
- How much have you spent on maintenance?
- What machines most urgently demand upgrades?
- What new tech has hit the market since you installed the originals?
- What is the risk of equipment failure or safety issues?
Looking to optimize an industrial or commercial power system? Automate what you can and figure out what parts you can upgrade for better results.