Identifying Natural Gas Savings

Six telltale signs your plant profits are disappearing

Did you know your plant profits are disappearing right under your nose? They’re not all that hard to find if you know where to look. Take a tour through your plant and see if you can spot six telltale signs that point to plant energy costs that are killing your profits.

  • Steam plumes, whatever their size, are sure signs you are losing money. The height of your steam plume signals the amount of money you are losing every year.  For instance, a 6 ft. steam plume usually means you could be losing about $13,000 a year. Dozens of small plumes may not look like much but together they too could add up to thousands of dollars a year. To learn how much a steam leak could be costing you, check our Steam Performance section.
  • Employees wearing shirts in one part of the building and coats in another. Uneven heating and cooling could be a sign of poor air balancing in your plant that’s making your staff uncomfortable and costing you money. Look for staff wearing coats near the exterior of the building while they are shedding layers in the interior. A slightly positive air balance and optimized ventilation could be just the thing to improve your comfort and your bottom line.
  • Electric heaters under desks or near work stations. Walk around your plant and check for electric heaters hidden under desks or near work stations. They are usually a pretty good sign that your HVAC needs attention. Electric heaters are a classic symptom – and an expensive solution – to a bigger root problem that could be costing you a lot.
  • High Exhaust Rates - all over your plant. Your plant and process exhaust systems need to work together. If they don’t, they can increase the energy demands and costs of other systems. Check for excessive exhaust rates throughout the plant. If you have excessive general building exhaust it can work against your process exhaust systems. Improper exhausting can remove clean conditioned air – for which you’ve already paid. Every additional Cubic Foot per Minute (CFM) of exhaust air, beyond what’s required, costs you roughly an extra dollar per year. So running 15,000 CFM more than you need will cost you an extra $15,000 a year.
  • Damaged or wet insulation could be costing you dollars so repair or replace it. If you have uninsulated surfaces, check them for heat. As a general rule of thumb, if it feels too hot or cold to the touch, then insulate it.
  • Yellow thermal imaging camera can show you where you are losing heat in your plant. A thermal imaging camera can show you where you are losing heat in your plant. Brilliant colour disparities on your infrared camera are a tell-tale sign of heat and money losses. An infrared survey of your plant will show you how to pinpoint your heat losses. Union Gas financial incentives can help pay for an infrared survey. For more information about how a thermal imaging survey paid big dividends for a Union Gas customer, check the AbitibiBowater Enercase. This case study shows how a paper manufacturer used thermal imaging to save hundreds of thousands of dollars with very short paybacks.

Union Gas will pay you to save natural gas
If you are seeing some of these telltale signs in your plant or facility, contact your Union Gas Energy Conservation Advisor. Union Gas financial incentives are available to help Union Gas business customers reduce the amount of natural gas they use. In fact, Union Gas will help pay for some equipment and studies if it will lower your gas consumption. If you are looking for savings in your plant or facility, contact a Union Gas Energy Conservation Advisor for more information.

More ideas for saving natural gas
Looking for more ways to save? The system brochures below identify potential energy efficiency improvements for your plants and facilities – along with eligible incentives from Union Gas.

*  NOTE: Total Union Gas incentives cannot exceed $250,000 a year per site. Certain criteria apply for some technologies, contact your Union Gas Energy Conservation Advisor for more information. Subject to change.