Stories & Features

16 tips to cut electricity use during holiday down time

Image of worker in industrial facility
As the holiday season arrives and production begins to slow, walk through your facility to look for equipment – from conveyors to pumps and lighting – that can be shut down when it's not needed.

Plenty of free ways to save, with changes in behaviour at the top of the list

For some of you, the holiday season is the quietest time of the year, with staff on vacation and customer orders slowing down a bit. Operational changes, which are simple changes in behaviour, are one of the easiest and quickest ways to save during periods of down time.

We asked Jamie Oliver, operational-savings specialist at Panevo – a Vancouver sustainability consultancy – for a list of actions industrial businesses can take to cut costs during the holidays.

Here are his suggestions:

In general

  • As production begins to slow, walk through your facility to look for production equipment, such as conveyors, pumps, ventilation fans, air compressors and lighting that can be shut down when it's not needed. Just be mindful that certain equipment may need to stay running, such as pumps that circulate fluid to avoid freezing issues.

Lighting

  • Embrace task lighting, and refrain from turning on all lighting for prep before beginning of shift.
  • Remove dust and dirt buildup from your fixtures. A fixture's light output can be reduced by up to 30% if it isn't clean.
  • If you aren't already using occupancy sensors, they're a great way to save energy during times of low or no occupancy like the holidays.
  • As daylight hours change, ensure outdoor lighting time clocks are adjusted to an appropriate on/off time.

Refrigeration

  • If the system allows, use free cooling to take advantage of cooler outdoor temperatures.
  • Be mindful of ice freezing in cooling tower collection basins and areas of condensation.
  • Consider lowering refrigerant head pressure to take advantage of cooler outdoor temperatures.
  • If two-speed or variable speed condenser fan control is possible, take advantage of it; set up sequencing properly if more than one motor is used.

Compressed air

  • Consider heat recovery from air compressors to warm the maintenance shop, mechanical room and warehouse areas.
  • Make sure intake grilles and filters don't get clogged with leaves and other debris.
  • Cold and dry outdoor air is efficient for air compressors so try to facilitate this for the air intakes where possible.
  • If air moisture is removed with a refrigerant dryer (or no dryer) and the air lines run outdoors, be mindful of moisture condensing and freezing if temperatures dip below zero.

HVAC

  • Keep large bay doors closed whenever possible, to reduce cold air infiltration.
  • Encourage staff to use side doors rather than bay doors when they come and go.
  • Limit the use of portable electric heaters. Unattended heaters waste energy and may create a fire hazard.
  • Electric baseboard heaters with manual control should be turned down at night, on the weekend and on holidays.
  • Use programmable thermostats to manage temperatures efficiently at night, on the weekend and on holidays.

Building strategic energy management into your industrial business practices will save you money. We offer three program streams for industrial businesses. They are: industrial energy manager, industrial cohort, and regional energy manager. Determining program eligibility is easy – it's based on annual electricity use. To get started today, read through an overview of our energy management programs.