Energy and gas costs continue to rise, leaving businesses like metal fabrication manufacturers feeling financially strained.
The good news is that manufacturing businesses can significantly reduce their energy bills by becoming more energy efficient.
Reducing energy use in your business can:
- save you money
- give you a competitive edge
- create more business
- lower your carbon footprint.
The figures on this page come from our Boosting Business Productivity program. We worked with more than 300 businesses to explore their energy use and minimise their energy cost.
Understand where you’re currently using energy
First, understand where your business is using the most energy, so you can find ways to reduce and save.
Based on the business’ we’ve worked with in the metals manufacturing industry, the most common areas to reduce energy costs are:
- insulating pipes
- heat recovery
- power factor correction
Ways to reduce energy costs
1. Insulate piping
Insulating steam or chilled water piping will reduce temperature loss and improve the amount of energy used to function.
On average, metal manufacturing businesses that insulate piping found they:
- spent less than $15,000 on implementation
- saved more than $7000 annually
- took 2 years to pay back
- saved almost 40 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
2. Implement heat recovery
Heat recovery is a process where you redirect and use heat that would otherwise be vented outside.
You can use the recovered heat to preheat water for boilers or heat the workplace.
On average, metal manufacturing businesses that recover heat found they:
- spent less than $30,000 on implementation
- saved more than $8500 annually
- took less than 4 years to pay back
- saved almost 46 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
3. Install power factor correction equipment
Power factor is a measure of how effectively your equipment uses electricity. It’s about getting your money’s worth.
Reduce the amount you pay on your ‘network demand charges’ by improving your power factor and correcting supply inefficacies.
Poor power factor is often due to poorly loaded electric motors and mechanical equipment.
Power factor correction equipment optimises how your electrical system uses power.
The best way to know if you need power factor correction equipment is by talking to your electrical contractor or your energy provider.
On average, metal manufacturing businesses that install power factor correction equipment found they:
- spent less than $75,000 on implementation
- saved more than $15,000 annually
- took less than 5 years to pay back.
4. Install a gas or electricity meter on high-energy equipment
Some of your high-energy equipment might be using more gas or electricity than needed.
Buy and set up a gas or electricity meter on equipment that uses the most energy to monitor use.
The meter can show you how much energy the equipment uses and when. This data can be analysed to see if the equipment is working efficiently. You may find you can downsize equipment or determine when it needs maintenance.
On average, metal manufacturing businesses that add a meter to high-energy equipment found they:
- spent less than $85,000 on implementation
- saved more than $17,000 annually
- took less than 5 years to pay back
- saved almost 70 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
5. Invest in solar
Before investing in solar PV (photovoltaics), ask your energy provider if they offer renewable energy options. To get the most competitive offer, compare electricity and gas providers.
Power your site with a solar PV system to reduce your energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
The Clean Energy Council has a helpful guide to installing solar (PDF, 1.6MB).
On average, metal manufacturing businesses that invest in solar PV found they:
- spent less than $110,000 on implementation
- saved more than $20,000 annually
- took less than 5 years to pay back
- saved almost 150 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
What else can you do?
Get an energy audit
Hire a professional energy consultant to review your energy bills and the way your business operates. They’ll identify where you’re losing energy and what you can do about it.
Through our Boosting Business Productivity program, on average, a business in the metal manufacturing industry:
- spent $7600 on an energy audit
- identified a savings of 63% of their total energy bill
- identified $63,700 of annual savings.
Get energy-specific finance
There are a range of finance options that help businesses invest in energy efficient equipment. They range from a simple bank loan to an agreement between you and your service provider.