Energy efficiency in industrial facilities: How to optimise electrical systems

Industrial facilities typically have much greater energy requirements to support large scale operations and manufacturing. As such, it’s more important that facilities used for industry purposes are energy efficient, as opposed to those used for residential and commercial ones. There are many steps facility operators can take to improve energy efficiency. In this post, we’ll be discussing how this goal can be achieved through the optimisation of electrical systems.


The importance of energy efficiency

Efficiency is one of those buzzwords that tends to appear whenever industrial processes are being discussed. However, this is for good reason. In order to be profitable, the facilities used by industrial businesses must be efficient in the energy they use. Energy consumption is a significant factor in operational costs, as facilities have to be heated, cooled, and supply power to tools and machinery. If the facility is losing energy efficiency, this means it could make less money on every part/product in produces.

On top of this, efficient energy use can make it more likely that the business will be able to upscale the capabilities of the facility. This is essential for industrial companies to expand and develop. Facilities that are highly energy efficient are also considered sustainable, increasing the value of the building as an asset for the business. A survey from an experienced mechanical and electrical services contractor is often necessary to get a full picture of your facility energy efficiency.


Tips for optimising industrial electrical systems

Oftentimes, ensuring efficient energy use comes with unique challenges depending on the business that’s using the facility and the industry they’re operating in. This is because there will likely be key processes with their own power requirements at different stages. For instance, a food and drink production facility will likely have specialist systems in place to guarantee food safety compliance. The list of insights below can be applied to any industrial facility, whether it’s used for petrochemical, pharmaceutical, or another technical sector.

The most obvious measure for increasing energy efficiency is to install modern systems that are designed to only use as much energy as is necessary to perform their function. This can encompass systems in a wide range of areas, such as:

  • Motors – many industries use motors in key facility processes. Fortunately, there are now Minimum Energy Performance Standards that set out energy efficiency requirements. Sourcing modern motors will ensure they adhere to these efficiency standards.
  • Lighting – lights should only stay on during working hours and only be as bright as is necessary. Certain types of bulbs will consume less energy than others.
  • HVAC systems – optimal heating, ventilation and air conditioning can reduce overall energy usage. This means using the right materials, having proper insulation, and upgrading old systems.
  • Transformers – optimised transformers ensure energy is distributed appropriately throughout the facility, whilst also reducing the chance of potential losses in energy during transfer.

A variable frequency drive is a device that can be added to control the speed and torque of a motor to make it more efficient. It adjusts the voltage supplied to the motor, allowing it to be used across multiple different processes while only using an amount of the energy needed for that function.

Storing energy for later use is often beneficial for industrial facilities as it enables businesses to fulfil extra demand and account for faults. However, these storage systems need to be effective to make sure energy isn’t being gradually lost over time.

In a similar way to the VFD, managing the energy use of different electrical systems is possible through dedicated software. This considers the energy demands of different systems within the facility. It’s especially useful for optimising energy use for utilities and sustainability measures. Hardware like electrical control panels may also help to monitor and adjust energy use.

Both electrical and machinery maintenance should be carried out to extend the lifespan of key systems and improve energy efficiency. This can sometimes mean replacing existing electrical systems and installing new ones.

To optimise the energy use of electrical systems, they should be inspected on a regular basis. This allows facility operators to assess the efficiency of a variety of electrical systems and target their optimisation efforts accordingly.

Industrial electrical engineering support

The FESS Group specialises in facility management and the implementation of strategies with a focus on industrial efficiency. With years of experience providing expert consultancy for the food industry, our team is very familiar with the importance of controlling energy use. Contact us today to arrange a meeting about our commercial electrical services.

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