Opportunities exist for businesses in the textiles and fashion industry to reduce operating costs and make significant savings by taking actions to reduce energy use.
The following guide was developed by the Council of Textiles and Fashion Industries of Australia, with funding provided by Sustainability Victoria.
These tips will help reduce your electricity consumption and demand to help keep those bills down.
The cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use. Many businesses can save up to 15% on their energy costs by simply switching off appliances and lights that aren’t being used – especially over-night and weekends. Use timers, sensors and remote switches.
Make sure your equipment has stand-by settings, so that they can rest as soon as they’re not producing. With high-energy machines like stenters and dryers, this can save thousands of dollars per year.
Most businesses pay electricity demand charges based on their highest demand period during the month – even if it’s just for half an hour! Have a look at your energy consumption pattern to see if you can cut your demand charges with some simple scheduling – without affecting production.
Are there processes that you can shift to off-peak power? Can you run some systems overnight when the power is cheaper? Also, if you run multiple shifts, you might be able to schedule maintenance shut-downs for peak power times, so that you’re not shut down while the power is cheapest.
Look for opportunities to use direct heat rather than steam – huge savings are possible by replacing steam tubes with direct gas heaters. Check burners regularly to maintain efficiency.
Victoria’s buildings can be cold in winter and hot in summer – especially older factory buildings. Insulate to keep warm in winter and cool in summer. Good airflow will help the heat escape in summer.
Insulating steam and hot water lines
Don’t lose all that valuable heat: insulate! Keep the lines as short as possible and get them checked regularly for blockages. Catch the condensate for boiler re-use.
Don’t overload dryers – and don’t under-load them either! 'Pre-treat' before drying with a spin cycle, rollers, or 'pre-heat' with waste heat.
General heating and cooling
Get rid of the air heaters and replace them with direct Infra-red heaters – only heat the areas where people are working.
Heat exchange units capture the heat from the wastewater of one batch to use in the next, saving lots of energy. Also capture heat from flues.
Compressed air is widely used in TCF, and good air system management is essential as even small leaks can cost thousands of dollars.
- Keep pressure as low as you can to do to the job. Regularly check for leaks and keep the air inlet filters clean.
- Position the air intake in a cool, shaded spot and keep the compressor well shaded and ventilated.
- Don’t overuse it – use brooms for sweeping – not compressed air!
Pumps, motors, fans
If the loads change on any pumps, motors and fans, consider retrofitting Variable Speed Drives (VSD). Buy only ultra-high efficiency motors when upgrading.
Learn more about installing VSDs and savings possible, plus case studies.
Efficient Lights save energy, reduce demand and with newer long-life technology, save significantly in maintenance costs. Consider:
- extra switches so you can turn off areas while not being used
- efficient luminaires such as LED or T5 high bays
- welcome natural light into your business. Keep skylights and windows clean and consider fitting lux controls to your lights to switch them all off when there is good light natural light coming in.
Buying new equipment
Always look out for the most efficient equipment when buying new – consider the lifetime running cost.