For the past year, we have been running a successful energy management program at the well-known sock manufacturer, Falke, in Bellville South. The first rule of managing your energy usage would be to establish a baseline consumption that is used to be measured against. Using this makes it easy to measure the savings made each week. The next step would be ensuring that you’re measuring all your significant energy users (SEUs). To manage something, you have to be measuring it. In our case this means submetering.
Submetering makes it possible for you to know how much electricity different components or departments consume in your company. By knowing how much each component uses, you are able to make changes and test the results of your efforts.
At Falke socks, we started out by first identifying their SEUs and getting meters on them so that we can see the percentage of overall consumption that is used by each. One would assume the machines that manufacture the socks would use the most electricity, but it turns out their compressors used the most – a common trend in factories.
An important aspect of any energy management program is to establish energy-saving or energy efficiency opportunities. At Falke, we had plenty of small changes we could make that had a large impact together. Obvious fixes we made was to repair all the air leaks we found. This included suction leaks and compressed air leaks. We also optimised the air compressor settings to have them work more efficiently. This means that the settings of the compressors are changed in such a way that they work effectively together instead of each compressor just working individually.
We have made significant energy savings by also shifting loads and the switching off of unnecessary out of hours loads. There were also a lot of small things done, such as the switching to LED lighting and the fitting of valves to the main compressed air ring main so that departments can be isolated. Each change together made a large impact on the savings.
With our energy management program, we have fortnightly meetings with our clients to set the goals and expectations for each week. At Falke, we are consistently saving more than 20% in energy costs. The consumption is measured against production and with a 20% saving, it equates to a specific Energy Performance Indicator (EnPI) of pairs of socks per kWh. Every week aiming for a higher sock count per kWh.
Falke also had the opportunity of having significant savings by changing the tariff structure they were on. The new tariff was implemented in August, which means their September 2020 bill was the first one to reflect the new tariff. On the September bill alone, they saved a little over R100,000. The projected savings annually from the tariff change alone equates to around R600,000, taking into account high and low season tariff structures. The total savings for September, tariff change and energy management together, is around R170 000.
Falke is a good example of what submetering and measuring your SEUs can mean for your energy-saving efforts. The golden rule stands, you cannot manage something if you’re not measuring it. If you’re looking to measure some of your SEUs or are interested in an energy management program, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at +27 21 975 4529.