Reducing energy & utilities costs in intensive consumers

Submitted by Sérgio Grassi on Mon, 10/17/2016 - 17:13
Reducing energy & utilities costs in intensive consumers

The awareness of the world’s existing lack of energy resources seems to have finally spread through Brazil. Instead of what has happened in the rest of the world, where for a long time people have been conscious that natural resources are finite, Brazil had to go through a power rationing in 2001 (the first scare) and then through a rise of around 50 percent in the energy tariff in 2015 (the second scare) for the need to ration energy sources to finally sink in. 

Since then, Brazil has been creating more initiatives to save energy, whether through investing in cost-effective equipment or by implementing energy management systems, which are normally implemented in intensive energy consumers.  

In order to understand the gap between Brazil and Germany, for example, in terms of initiatives for efficient energy use, it is fair to point out the number of ISO 50001 standard certifications in these two countries: more than 2,000 in Germany against less than 50 in Brazil. This standard implementation permanently eliminates cost reduction attempts that use temporary campaigns and projects, which surely don’t perpetuate savings in companies.

One of the highlights and main benefits that the ISO implementation adds for companies is systematically introducing operation and maintenance control focused on the appropriate use of energy resources. This action, as simple as it can appear, is responsible for significant savings, which can reach up to 20 percent of energy costs without large investments.

How can you implement this tool? What steps must be taken to get to this solution? Here is a suggested sequence for the implementation process:

1st step: Implementing this effective control begins by defining the significant energy uses. These are the installations or equipment responsible for a substantial share of the company’s energy consumption.

2nd step: The following step defines the relevant variables; in other words, it pinpoints the critical operational parameters that have direct or indirect impact in the equipment’s energy performance. Defining these variables correctly and determining the optimal points of operation is the secret to energy performance optimization.   

3rd step: In order to perpetuate this control in a management system, it is essential to provide adequate training for equipment operators and maintenance teams.

In order for Brazil to reach the energy efficiency of the most developed countries, it is fundamentally important that people actually change their behavior regarding energy use.

How about you – did you save energy today?

Commercial Director, Viridis

Viridis’s Commercial Director. He has worked for 35 years at Vallourec in energy, maintenance, and industrial assembling. He managed the energy and utilities project at the Vallourec & Sumitomo (VSB) plant. He holds a BEng in Electrical Engineering and graduate degrees in Industrial Automation and Business Management. He is a member of CB-116, which developed the ABNT NBR ISO 50,001 – Energy Management standard. He was responsible for making Vallourec the first steel company in Brazil to achieve this certification. He is a member of the Board of Renewable Energy and Oil & Gas at FIEMG.

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