EHS Management

20 Energy Savers You Don’t Know About

The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has worked with manufacturing industry professionals to develop the following top-20 easy energy savers that can help you reduce your energy costs in all your combustion systems, or focus more specifically on your steam boiler system or process heating system.

These short-term opportunities can be applied today, and your savings may begin immediately:

  1. Operate your furnaces and boilers at or close to design capacity.
    • Decreases fuel consumption per unit of production
    • Your energy savings: up to 5 percent
    • Low cost
  2. Reduce excess air used for combustion.
    • Measures and controls air-fuel ratio or oxygen and carbon monoxide content of flue gases from your furnaces, ovens, and boilers, etc., for the entire range of operation
    • Your energy savings: up to 15 percent
    • Low cost
  3. Clean heat transfer surfaces.
    • Lowers flue gas temperature and increases efficiency by improving heat transfer
    • Your energy savings: up to 5 percent
    • Moderate cost
  4. Reduce radiation losses from openings.
    • Saves energy
    • Your energy savings: up to 2.5 percent
    • Low cost
  5. With the following mid-term opportunities you can see results in 1 week to 6 months:

  6. Use proper furnace or boiler insulation to reduce wall heat losses.
    • Saves energy
    • Your energy savings: up to 2 percent
    • Moderate cost
  7. Adequately insulate air or water-cooled surfaces exposed to the furnace environment and steam lines leaving the boiler.
    • Reduces losses from piping
    • Your energy savings: up to 5 percent
    • Moderate cost
  8. This longer-term opportunity will get you results in 6 months or more:

  9. Install air preheat or other heat recovery equipment.
    • Recovers available heat from exhaust gases and transfers it back into the system by preheating
    • Your energy savings: up to 25 percent
    • High cost
  10. Steam Generation Systems

    These short-term opportunities can give you immediate results:

  11. Improve water treatment to minimize boiler blowdown.
    • Reduces the amount of total dissolved solids in the boiler water, which reduces blowdown and, therefore, energy loss
    • Your energy savings: up to 1 percent
    • Moderate cost
  12. Optimize deaerator vent rate.
    • Minimizes avoidable loss of steam
    • Your energy savings: up to 1 percent
    • Low cost
  13. Repair steam leaks.
    • Minimizes avoidable loss of steam
    • Your energy savings: up to 2 percent
    • Moderate cost
  14. For results in 1 week to 6 months try these mid-term opportunities:

  15. Minimize vented steam.
    • Minimizes avoidable losses of steam
    • Your energy savings: up to 5 percent
    • Low cost
  16. Implement an effective steam trap maintenance program.
    • Promotes efficient operation of end-use heat transfer equipment and reduces live steam in the condensate system
    • Your energy savings: up to 5 percent
    • Low cost
  17. Use high-pressure condensate to make low-pressure steam.
    • Exploits the available energy in the returning condensate
    • Your energy savings: up to 3 percent
    • Moderate cost
  18. The longer-term opportunities that offer results in 6 months or more include:

  19. Utilize a backpressure turbine instead of pressure-reducing or release valves.
    • Provides a more efficient method for reducing steam pressure
    • Your energy savings: up to 8 percent
    • High cost
  20. Optimize condensate recovery.
    • Recovers the thermal energy in the condensate and reduces the amount of makeup water needed
    • Your energy savings: up to 3 percent
    • High cost
  21. Process Heating Systems

    Tip: The best way to detect leaks is with an ultrasonic acoustic detector; it can recognize high-frequency hissing sounds associated with leaks.

    Implement the following today and get immediate results:

  22. Minimize air leakage into the furnace by sealing openings.
    • Reduces excess use of fuel used to heat ambient air entering the furnace
    • Your energy savings: up to 5 percent
    • Low cost
  23. Maintain proper, slightly positive furnace pressure.
    • Prevents air leakage through such openings as partially open furnace doors, gaps around tubes, or rollers
    • Your energy savings: up to 5 percent
    • Moderate cost
  24. To get results in 1 week to 6 months try these mid-term opportunities:

  25. Reduce weight of or eliminate material-handling fixtures.
    • Includes fixtures, baskets, and conveyors used to transport or support the material being heated in the furnace
    • Your energy savings: up to 10 percent
    • Moderate cost
  26. These longer-term opportunities will get you results in 6 months or more:

  27. Modify the furnace system or use a separate heating system to recover furnace exhaust gas heat.
    • Preheating of load or charge material reduces fuel consumption.
    • Your energy savings: up to 15 percent
    • High cost
  28. Recover part of the furnace exhaust heat for use in lower-temperature processes.
    • Reduces fuel consumption by using exhaust gases from a higher temperature furnace to supply heat to lower temperature processes
    • Your energy savings: up to 25 percent
    • High cost

According to EERE, when you implement your energy-saving plan, your energy-efficiency projects can deliver large returns. Taking the best actions to reduce costs, enhance productivity, and save energy will help you be more competitive and profitable.