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Planning Long-Term Energy Cost Savings for Your Laundry

Edison Electric Institute, on behalf of the nation’s electric utility companies, has outlined the following steps to help you plan how to get the most use from every energy dollar. Following a comprehensive plan can cut a laundry’s energy costs by up to 20 percent. The following steps are taken from EEI’s new guidebook, “Managing Energy.”

To get started and organized for success you must build a team. Generally, you will need representatives from management or administration. The team will need to define success with realistic goals.

Create an action plan for implementing the top priority energy-saving measures. Assign plan components to those who are capable of accomplishing the task. Don’t wait until the end of a two-year program to announce results. Create regular milestones & incentives to meet them.

Consult with your electric company. They can help you with answers about electric utility incentive programs, discount electricity rates, energy-efficient equipment, or any other energy-related question.

Determine how to cut energy costs by conducting an audit of energy use. There are two types of energy audits:
Walk-Through Audit —
This is the easiest & least expensive means of identifying & evaluating your energy use. Since people have a major effect on how energy is used, this audit pays particular attention to identifying habits & procedures that can be adopted to use energy more efficiently.

Computerized Analysis Audit —
An analysis audit identifies more comprehensive, capital-intensive energy saving improvements. Your laundromat’s energy data is run through a computer program & interrelated. The resulting analysis provides specific recommendations for energy savings that include determining the most economical rate for your facility, equipment replacements, or retrofits & building structural or design modifications.

Understand what equipment are your big energy users. A small improvement in an area that consumes a lot of energy, like heating & cooling, water heating, or lighting, will make a larger impact on the bottom line.

Lighting –
Lighting is usually the largest electricity user and should be the first place to look for savings.

HVAC –
Your heating, ventilation, & cooling system offers savings of 30 percent or more by improving efficiency & maintenance.

Refrigeration –
Savings come from operating the equipment in an efficient manner & in carefully evaluating a manufacturer’s stated energy efficiency & estimate operating costs.

Building Envelope –
The envelope—everything that separates the inside from the outside—has a major influence on the HVAC system. When operating effectively, limiting heat losses & gains, the building requires less energy.

Hot Water –
Lower temperature settings, fixing hot water leaks, using heat recovery systems are all ways to control energy here. Control energy use electronically. Installing an energy management control (EMC) system can enhance the other energy-saving improvements you make. EMC systems can save 10 to 20 percent on electricity costs.

Determine payback. A popular way to evaluate any energy saving improvement is by calculating how long it will take the investment to pay for itself in energy savings. Simple payback is calculated by dividing the cost of the improvement by the annual energy savings. The result is the number of years to payback the investment. This method doesn’t take into account inflation, energy cost changes, tax effects, nor the expected life of the equipment.

The adjusted payback method takes into account some time value of money. The inputs to this method are the simple payback & the cost of money if you finance or the rate of return you want on the investment.

Life cycle costing is a method that factors in all the variables, & is used when the payback is long, the investment is large, or you just want to know how this investment compares with other you could make.

Capitalize on opportunities created by electricity competition. Many state & federal initiatives are underway to restructure retail electricity markets. Competition within the electricity industry can offer significant benefits for those who are prepared.

To take full advantage of the new electricity markets, you must have an understanding of your electricity usage patterns. In the future, many electricity suppliers are contemplating the use of “Real-time pricing.” Under this pricing option, electricity prices will change hourly based on the cost to produce the electricity. While this will provide an opportunity to shift loads back and forth to the lowest cost hours, it places a burden on the companies to understand electricity consumption on an hourly basis and how to potentially move load without disrupting services. A load profile is information on energy usage over a period, usually displayed graphically. Load profiles should be developed and assessed on an annual, monthly, weekly, daily, and hourly basis since electricity prices will be dependent upon how your energy consumption fluctuates over time. The load shape may also provide an indication or what energy services your business may need.

Ways your electric utility company may be able to help you lower energy bills:
  • Cash rebates given as incentives for purchasing or upgrading energy-efficient lighting, air conditioning, refrigeration, and water heating systems.
  • Direct load control programs, where you allow your electric company to cycle off or shut down big energy-using appliances and equipment for certain periods.
  • Low-interest loans to help you afford high-efficiency equipment.
  • New construction programs, offering incentives and training to encourage energy-saving designs
    and the use of higher efficiency equipment.
  • Energy audits, providing an analysis of your energy use and specific recommendations for energy savings.
  • Call your electric utility company, or visit their Web site for more details.

Edison Electric Institute (EEI) is the association of United States investor-owned electric utilities, industry affiliates, and associates worldwide. Its domestic members generate approximately three-quarters of the nation’s electricity, and service about 70 percent of all ultimate customers in the nation.

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Imperial Laundry Acquired

RACINE WI. — Imperial Laundry Systems has been acquired by CMJ Partners, a private investment firm based in Vero Beach, Fla. The facility launders hospitals and hotel goods in Illinois and Wisconsin. The new company will be called Imperial Laundry Services and it will remain in Racine.