Energy and Water Use
Reduce your use of energy
Many business operators regard energy use as a fixed cost or overhead cost. However, energy usage is actually a controllable cost. An energy efficiency program can reduce the overall cost of energy and also reduce the long-term environmental impact of excessive energy use.
You can get started on an energy efficiency program by:
- identifying all your energy costs (oil, gas, electricity)
- identifying the equipment that is using this energy and the hours of use
- identifying alternative energy sources, equipment or design to reduce usage
- educating your staff.
Start by looking at:
- Maximise the use of natural light. Investigate the feasibility of installing skylights.
- Replace neon lights with energy efficient lighting.
- Switch off lights that are not needed.
Orientation and layout of your premises
- Maximise the use of natural ventilation for cooling.
- Maximise the space between heating and cooling equipment.
Heating and cooling
- Install roof ventilators.
- Check thermostats are at the lowest setting possible.
- Insulate pipes and tanks.
- Clean and maintain all equipment regularly.
- Match boiler size to steam demand. Estimate peak steam demand and match with supply by activating boiler during these times only. Regularly check for steam leaks.
- Lag and size pipes to meet production needs and allow capacity expansion when it is not in use.
- Check and replace inefficient machinery.
- Regularly check hose connections, unions, couplings, valves, door gaskets and seatings and pumps for leaks. Ensure any air intakes are located in cool areas.
A Western Australian dry cleaning operation has identified and invested in various energy efficiency improvements over the past 5 years. The reduction in energy consumption has reduced gas costs from $126 to $89 dollars a day while electricity costs have been reduced from $63 to $56 dollars a day. That's approximately $15,000 per year saved on energy bills. This has been achieved by identifying opportunities to improve current work and process practices, such as:
- Unlagged and undersized pipes were identified and replaced with lagged pipes of sufficient size to meet production demands and with the capacity to expand. This reduced the overall demand on the two existing boilers that ran constantly and now only a single boiler is needed.
- By estimating peak steam demand and matching demand to supply, the amount of steam was reduced and the single boiler would not be required to run constantly.
- The two previous initiatives have resulted in improved working conditions, reducing the need for fans and air conditioning. Evaporative coolers are used which only need to be running on half capacity for a comfortable working environment.
- Neon lights were replaced with energy efficient low bay lights. As well as considerably reducing annual energy bills, the benefits of energy efficiency has resulted in expanded production capacity and enhanced competitiveness. The improvements in lighting and thermal conditions have improved staff comfort and productivity.
Source: Department of Environment and Water Resources
You can save money and have a positive impact on the environment by implementing a water efficiency program. The first step could be a water audit to determine how much water your business uses, identify where there are water leaks, and what systems and equipment could be put in place to reduce your water use.
A number of publications on water-efficient appliances, water conservation and water use are available through the major water suppliers: Sydney Water Corporation and Hunter Water Corporation.
- DECC Environment Line, Tel: 131 555
- Sydney Water Corporation, Tel: 132 092
- Hunter Water Corporation, Tel: 1300 657 657
Page last updated: 27 February 2011