Appliances and Machinery

Virtually all businesses use appliances or machines of some kind to produce their products and services.

Many of these devices (like ovens, washing and pressing machines, welding equipment, paint sprayers, electroplating units and refrigeration systems) are such heavy users of energy that they may actually account for more of your energy costs than all other sources combined.

Machines also generate secondary costs by increasing the heat load your air conditioning system has to deal with.

In addition to taking the steps discussed in this section, we suggest that you contact your equipment manufacturer, industry association or energy consultant.

Calculating Your Current Costs

If you use a lot of energy intensive processes in your business, you can calculate machine consumption by using meter readings for specific machines (if possible).

Or, you can figure the amount of energy used per hour by various equipment with the help of product literature or the manufacturer. (For some businesses, this process may be complex enough to require analysis by one of our representatives.)

A useful way of comparing the real costs of various machines is to look at their "life cycle" costs. This is calculated by multiplying the annual energy expenditure by the number of years the appliance should last, then adding the purchase price.

Using this formula, you can determine whether the higher initial investment for a more energy efficient machine is worth the cost. (For more on life cycle costs, see the section on Energy Guide Labels.)

Machines: The Most Effective Tactics

Try these energy-saving tips when using machinery:

  • Turn off all machines when not in use.
  • Adjust temperature, speed, pressure and other variables to less energy intensive settings if you can.
  • Run full loads whenever possible.
  • Maintain all equipment according to the manufacturers' recommendations.
  • In the summer, vent heat outside rather than into an air-conditioned environment; reverse the process in winter, recovering machine-generated heat for other purposes.
  • Reduce your peak demand by scheduling energy intensive activities at different times.
  • Replace worn out equipment with more energy efficient models.
  • Overhaul inefficient equipment if your investment can be recouped in a reasonable period of time.
  • Replace inefficient equipment before it wears out if the cost/payback is favorable.
  • Install automated controls where appropriate.
Simple and Inexpensive Projects

Specify Efficient Motors
Whenever you have to replace a motor, check to see if a more efficient model is available.  In most cases, the premium you'll pay for high-efficiency motors will be paid back within a year or two. The larger the motor and the more you run it, the faster your return will be.

Economize on Elevators and Escalators
In many businesses, the motors for these types of equipment run around the clock.  If there are periods when your elevators or escalators are used little, if any, contact the manufacturer about shutting off the motors. Timers and other devices can be installed to handle this task automatically.

Motor Maintenance Tips

  • Tighten bolts and pulleys regularly.
  • Lubricate motor and drives.
  • Replace worn bearings.
  • Check alignment between motor and drive equipment.
  • Keep motors clear to reduce heat buildup.

Cut Cooking Costs
Almost every business establishment uses some type of cooking equipment, whether it's a small coffee maker or a completely outfitted kitchen.

Cooking operations use a great deal of direct energy. They also add to the load your air conditioning system has to handle, creating secondary expenses for your business. Try to put these ideas into practice: 

  • Turn off equipment when not in use
    Except for recipes that require preheating, leave everything off until you need it. Turn the heat down on broilers, fryers and griddles between orders, and turn them off completely during slack periods.
  • Use the right equipment
    Microwave ovens use considerably less energy than conventional cooking methods. Fryers are less expensive than range tops. Use pressure cookers where possible to save time and energy. Be sure pans fit burners, and always use flat-bottomed pans on electric ranges. Use induction instead of traditional cooking surfaces to conserve energy and enhance safety. Convection ovens heat faster, cook more evenly and reduce cooking time compared to conventional ovens.
  • Cook efficiently
    Cook with lower temperatures - you'll save energy even though cooking takes more time. Use as little liquid as possible. Turn on only the burners you need. Open oven doors only when absolutely necessary. Cook food with similar temperatures at the same time. Cook in large volume whenever you can, then reheat prior to serving. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, not in the oven.

Rethink Refrigeration
Review manufacturers' literature on all refrigerators and freezers and follow all maintenance recommendations for refrigerant levels and cleaning coils and heat transfer surfaces.

In addition:

  • Use maximum acceptable temperatures. Check the current temperatures with a good thermometer and use proper settings (see Table 14 above). Maintain minimum pressure on all refrigeration equipment during the winter months (consult your refrigeration contractor). Temperatures 10 percent lower than necessary can increase your energy use by as much as 25 percent.
  • Refrigerate incoming products immediately to reduce energy expenditure on recooling.
  • Stock within load lines. Don't exceed the recommended capacity of equipment. You'll waste money and overcool part of your inventory.
  • Keep return grilles clear of obstructions such as stacked products.
  • Reduce outside heat. Make the most of refrigeration by removing unneeded lights, providing good air movement around cooling equipment, and using night covers if recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Check door seals. Seal materials deteriorate over time. Inspect them periodically, and replace as necessary. (Mold and mildew around seals are good indicators that leaks exist).
  • Follow manufacturers' guidelines for shelf spacing and position.
Genuine Investments

Protecting Equipment from Power Disturbances
Modern electronic equipment such as computers, energy management systems, electronic cash registers and security devices can be extremely sensitive to fluctuations in electrical current.

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NYSE : (April 23, 2014) D 71.06 0.19