How to Save Energy: Equipment
5 December 2022
Effective tips and recommendations to improve the energy efficiency of equipment in your building.
Before reading the tips below, I recommend starting with our Preparation guide to get the right groundwork in place for implementing successful energy saving initiatives.
Whether it’s office IT, refrigerators or machinery, the maintenance and efficient use of equipment can make a big difference to your energy bills. Here are our top tips for saving energy at low or no upfront cost:
1. Ensure equipment is switched off when not in use. This sounds obvious, but it’s often overlooked for regularly-used equipment that can be left in an idle state – think of printer copiers and PC monitors in offices or manufacturing machinery that is left on despite only being needed some of the time.
Fact: A manufacturer in Oldham achieved annual energy savings of over £12,500 by switching off shrink-wrap machinery that was left running continuously despite being unused 30 per cent of the time. An engineering firm in Bolton saved £2,400 just by switching off a small process oven between cycles.
Myth buster: Leaving IT equipment on standby is not a good way to save energy – each little red dot still costs money.
2. Service and maintain air conditioning units. Air handling systems will clog up over time, which reduces their efficiency. Make sure filters are replaced and the equipment is serviced regularly.
Fact: The cost of servicing air handling equipment will easily pay for itself two or three times over before the next service.
3. If you have refrigeration equipment, check the rubber seals on doors and replace those in bad condition – damaged seals waste energy.
Tip: If possible, any fridges or vending machines that are near to a direct heat source should be moved.
4. Maximise the use of space in refrigeration. Consider whether you can consolidate items into fewer fridges or freezers, but make sure air can still circulate. It’s also important to regularly defrost freezers to ensure good circulation.
Tip: If you have refrigerators or vending machines that only contain non-perishable goods, install low cost timers so they automatically switch off outside of operating hours.
5. If you’re a manufacturer, walk around your site and listen out for compressed air leaks. Air leaks waste huge amounts of energy and can be easily fixed. It’s also good practice to check the pressure and investigate whether it can be reduced without affecting your process – just a 10% reduction could generate 5% energy savings.
Fact: A single pinhead leak in a compressed air system could now be costing up to £2,000 a year in wasted energy.
6. Establish the optimum setting for all motors and ensure they are kept clean and regularly serviced. Dirty equipment runs hotter, will operate at a lower efficiency and is much more likely to break down or seize up.
Fact: Reducing the speed of a motor by just 20% can halve its energy consumption.
It’s important to tackle your energy use now rather than burying your head in the sand and thinking energy prices will drop back to what they used to be – they won’t.
- Explore our other How to Save Energy guides
- Watch our webinars on Understanding the Energy Challenge and What your business can do to reduce energy costs
- SMEs in Greater Manchester can access fully funded support on energy efficiency from our expert Sustainability and Net Zero team
- Energy efficiency is also a key element of our popular Journey to Net Zero programme for Greater Manchester SMEs. Visit businessgrowthhub.com/netzero
- If you are planning to install green or energy saving technologies, use our sister Green Economy service to find a reputable local supplier