Increased Manufacturing Demand
Increased manufacturing demand is the sweet-and-sour result of well-run industrial operations. The sweet part is that increased demand for product drives an increase in revenue. The sour comes from trying to figure out how to physically expand production capacity to meet demand. There are only so many hours in the day, so eventually, new equipment that produces product faster needs to be purchased. This faster equipment saves time, which can translate to energy savings that may be eligible for incentives.
For example, a food production manufacturer identified a bottleneck in their process. To fix this problem, they installed a faster conveyor. The new conveyor increased production speed by 5% and was 10% more energy efficient than the previous conveyor, on a per-unit-of-product basis.
Purchasing Bigger Equipment
Sometimes new equipment is more powerful than old equipment. Again, this allows for a greater amount of product to be produced in a given amount of time. Larger equipment is likely to increase utility bills because it will be used to increase production quantity. This, too, means that more product is being produced in a given amount of time. This more powerful equipment saves time that can translate to energy savings and potentially rebate dollars.
In fact, a packaging company plans to replace one of their packaging systems with a new system that has 56% more capacity. But the new, bigger system is actually 6% more energy efficient than the current system, per unit of product produced. This translates to thousands of dollars in incentives from their utility.
Energy efficiency incentive programs are designed to promote the purchase of equipment that will save energy. Faster and more powerful equipment is designed to save time. Energy is the product of equipment power and operating time. This means that, per unit of product, equipment that is bigger and/or faster may save energy.
Just because new equipment isn’t expected to decrease utility bills doesn’t mean it doesn’t save energy. It’s always a good idea to contact a utility company or an energy efficiency expert to see if a project is eligible for energy-saving incentives.