Mitigation Plan for Energy Conservation

Everyday new opportunities for energy conservation are becoming more numerous in both commercial and domestic setups.  The impact that energy conservation can have in reducing total costs in terms of money and environmental damage has become widely recognized.  In other words, energy conservation directly translates into a healthier environment to live in as well as more finances to dispose with.  Conservation efforts in reducing green house gases across the world as well as reducing toxic pollutants like carbon monoxide can also help remedy the potentially dangerous global warming situation.  The rest of the essay will deal about various mitigation efforts that could be incorporated into existing energy systems in order to make energy consumption more efficient.

Any large scale energy conservation projects are not viable due to the heavy initial costs that they would require.  Hence, the most feasible alternative is through mitigating the inefficiencies in the existing systems.  Also, with a little bit of financial help from the government in the form of subsidies, members of the relevant communities won’t feel the pinch of these additional costs.  For example, in the Washington D.C. metro area,

“…the local utility PEPCO underwrote the cost of compact fluorescent bulbs for several years. In other locations utilities have worked to provide interest subsidies for the purchase of highly efficient household appliances, like refrigerators. These appliances carry a higher purchase price, which may discourage buyers, but over the life of the equipment will actually save money though reduce energy consumption. Subsidizing interest payments bring the purchase price in line with conventional appliances” (Potera, 2005).

The mitigation plans for energy conservation can be broadly divided into household and industrial applications.  Both areas are equally important.  First, let us see how existing industrial systems could be made more energy-efficient and cost effective.  The following set of guidelines can help make substantial savings in energy and cost in factories and other manufacturing facilities.

  1. Operate furnaces and boilers at or close to design capacity
  2. Reduce excess air used for combustion
  3. Clean heat transfer surfaces
  4. Reduce radiation losses from openings
  5. Use proper furnace or boiler insulation to reduce wall heat losses
  6. Adequately insulate air or water-cooled surfaces exposed to the furnace environment and steam lines leaving the boiler
  7. Install air preheat or other heat recovery equipment
  8. Improve water treatment to minimize boiler blow-down
  9. Optimize de-aerator vent rate
  10. Repair steam leaks
  11. Minimize vented steam
  12. Implement effective steam trap maintenance program
  13. Use high-pressure condensate to make low-pressure steam
  14. Utilize backpressure turbine instead of pressure-reducing or release valves
  15. Optimize condensate recovery
  16. Minimize air leakage into the furnace by sealing openings
  17. Maintain proper, slightly positive furnace pressure
  18. Reduce weight of or eliminate material handling fixtures
  19. Modify the furnace system or use a separate heating system to recover furnace exhaust gas heat
  20. Recover part of the furnace exhaust heat for use in lower-temperature processes. (Potera, 2005)

The importance of energy conservation with respect to industry cannot be overemphasized.  For instance, the industrial sector expends nearly one third of total energy consumption in most advanced countries.  In other words, in a period of twelve months an average sized plant can use as much energy as what a thousand homes would consume put together.  This is the equivalent of total gasoline consumed in one year by two thousand cars. Given the fact that energy usage in industry can influence prices of manufactured goods and commodities adds weight for the argument in favor of conservation.  For example,

“Industry is responsible for producing almost everything around you! For example, the aluminum plant in your neighborhood helps you travel the world by supplying critical materials necessary for commercial airplanes. The chemical plant provides everyday products such as films, fibers, antifreezes, coolants, inks, adhesives and even diapers. And the metal casting plant down the road supplies a wide variety of parts for automobiles to home appliances to surgical equipment. Industry makes the things that keep America running.” (Mitra, 2007)

1 2 3 4