December  1996                                                                                                                               Volume 2   Issue 22

No-Cost/Low-Cost Savings Opportunities Checklist

    Some ways of reducing energy expenditures require that you spend capital dollars.  Others, however, require little or no cash outlay — just some staff time.  The energy-saving opportunities listed below fall into this latter group.  Many are obvious steps that you may have already taken.  Still, why not take a couple of minutes, run through the list, and check the not-yet-done items that strike you as worth considering.  If you have questions about the savings potential of a particular opportunity, or need more details about implementing a corrective measure, call Mike Proud or Ron Estabrooks at 368-5010 (toll free).


¨  To get an early warning of unusually high energy demand or consumption, review electricity and fuel use at least once a month, and keep records.

¨  Make sure your facility is on the most favorable electricity rate for which it qualifies.

¨  If it has been over a year since your facility has had an energy audit, have one.  Give us a call at 368-5010 (toll free).


¨  Verify that steam pressure/temperature is no higher than plant processes require.

¨  Where possible, operate equipment near its rated capacity.

¨  Make sure that all unused steam piping is disconnected from the system.

¨  Check for steam leaks on a regular basis, and eliminate them.

¨  Periodically check for steam trap problems.

¨  Reduce the heat loss from uncovered vats of hot liquid by making insulated covers or by floating hollow beads on the surface of the liquid.

¨  Review the temperatures used in heating and cooking processes, including the temperature of hot water supplied to the process.  Could any of these temperatures be reduced?

¨  Have the boiler cleaned, and adjusted for maximum efficiency.  Then, to ensure that boiler efficiency remains high, take frequent measurements of flue gas temperature and the per cent concentration of at least one flue gas.

For maximum boiler or furnace efficiency, flue gas percentages must be maintained within a narrow range.


¨  Eliminate refrigerant leaks and maintain specified refrigerant charge.

¨  Keep the condenser heat transfer surfaces clean.

¨  Replace damaged or missing insulation on cold refrigerant lines.

¨  Check for proper defrosting.

¨  Consider having the evaporator fans wired so that when the compressor is off, the evaporator fans are also off.

¨  Check freezer door gasket condition and door alignment.

¨  Review the temperatures used in the production processes which involve cooling — including the temperature of any refrigeration-cooled water supplied to the process.  Could any of these temperatures be increased? 


¨  Check motor voltage under load to ensure that voltage is within ratings and that the phase voltages are balanced.



1% or less



Motor losses increased by about 25%.  Motor insulation life reduced by a factor of eight.

5% or more

Totally unacceptable; motor will be quickly destroyed.

Voltage unbalance can increase motor losses and reduce motor life.

¨  Check motor current under load to ensure that it does not exceed maximum rated current.

¨  Periodically adjust drive belts, and lubricate motor and equipment bearings with proper lubricants.

¨  To aid in selecting the most appropriate replacement when a motor fails, now is the time to record motor current, rpm, and run-time data for all large motors.


¨  Have the calibration of critical controls such as thermostats checked at least once a year.

¨  Because control settings have energy implications as well as functional implications, check control settings regularly.  The aim is to achieve proper function while avoiding energy-consuming excesses such as excess temperature, excess air or water flows, longer mixing or heating times than necessary, etc.

¨  Replace a failed control right away, even though you can “get by” without fixing it.  Controls that fail in the “ON” mode almost always increase energy consumption unnecessarily.

¨  Determine what loads are ON when peak electrical demand occurs.  Then consider the possibility of installing simple switch interlocks or time-clocks to prevent non-essential loads from contributing to the peak.

¨  Verify that the plant air compressor does not run for extended periods when compressed air is not needed.  Also, because compressed air leaks are costly, eliminate them.

¨  In rooms where lights tend to be left on, consider replacing ordinary light switches with inexpensive occupancy-sensing switches or timer switches.

¨  Install tamper proof covers over controls that invite “fiddling” such as room temperature thermostats.  Make one person responsible for maintaining and changing settings.