Industrial facilities: Quick tips for savings that last

Start with a look at compressed air, fan and refrigeration systems

If you're running an industrial facility, there are all sorts of ways to reduce energy waste in your operations, from your building envelope to your compressed air or pump systems.

To consider all your options, browse our full set of Power Smart Tips for business. Or start with the tips below. Remember, when you reduce energy use today — you save money every month going forward.

Compressed air: update your drain valves

Did you know one quarter-inch leak in a 100 psi compressed air system can cost you more than $6,000 a year in electricity? Crack down on compressed air waste, and save.

One place for improvement is your system's drain valves. Older mechanical float-type valves can get stuck open, and timer-based drains open even when not needed. Update them with electronic sensing valves that discharge only when necessary.

New valves can cut your energy costs by five times their purchase price in the first year of installation.

Fan systems: reduce flow resistance

Your fan system is a near-constant consumer of electricity. And anywhere that air is impeded, it's costing you more than it should. Increase the efficiency of your fan system by reducing flow resistance:

  • Install turning vanes in square duct elbows or have elbows with as large a radius as possible.
  • Ensure that ducts are clean and smooth.
  • Make flow length as short as possible.
  • Size ducts and other flow passages as large as is practical.
  • Use inlet guards, filters and/or screens judiciously or you will waste energy.
  • Use air filters only when necessary. Filters cause flow resistance and increase the fan's energy consumption.
  • Use efficient flow control devices such as multi-vane dampers instead of single vane dampers (or better still-install an adjustable speed drive).

Refrigerator systems: control conditions so equipment works less hard

Refrigerators protect goods from heat and humidity. The more heat present in the conditions around (or inside) them, the more they cost to operate. Consider these ways to reduce the refrigeration load:

Reduce the intensity of lighting. Consider lighting levels at 0.5 watts per square foot (not 1 watt per square foot). This creates lighting savings and reduces heat the refrigeration system will not need to remove.

Increase insulation thickness in walls, floors and ceilings. This reduces the required capacity and system run time.

Install dehumidifier units to control humidity. Humidity can greatly affect the load on the refrigeration system.

Shift to high efficiency lighting inside refrigerators. Incandescents and older fluorescents cast off heat. Newer, more efficient lamps produce much less heat for the same amount of light.

Is your business eligible for incentives?

BC Hydro has funding for your energy efficiency upgrades, big or small. Plug in your BC Hydro account number to find out if your facility is eligible for incentives.