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Inefficient Boilers Costing Firms $637m a Year, Carbon Trust Says

U.K. organizations could save over £400 million ($637 million) a year by taking simple, low-cost actions to improve the efficiency of their hot water boilers, according to two reports released by British government-funded nonprofit The Carbon Trust.

Heating and hot water account for over one third of U.K. organizations’ energy consumption and up to 60 percent of the carbon emissions from some hot water-intensive industrial processes. However, heating costs could be reduced by up to 30 percent by implementing measures such as insulation, maintenance, optimized stop and start controls (depicted in the graph, above) and energy monitoring, according to the Trust’s “Expert in Energy” reports on low temperature hot water boilers and steam and high temperature hot water boilers.

Simply by insulating boilers, pipework and valves in their hot water systems – particularly on older systems – organizations could save up to 10 percent of the boiler energy input, according to the reports.

The establishment and upkeep of a regular maintenance plan is also a good way to improve efficiency and decrease energy costs, the reports say. Poor maintenance can reduce boiler performance by up to 10 percent.

Finally, structured monitoring of energy use is key to keep costs down, the reports say. Measuring fuel input, water input and water and steam outputs allows the effects of other improvements – such as insulation – to be measured. Measurement also allows unusually high energy consumption to be spotted quickly, problems identified and remedial action to be taken, the reports say.

Last month’s manufacturing guidance from the Carbon Trust covered air compressors, which the organization said present a variety of opportunities for saving energy, from leak reduction and air intake improvements, to maintenance, monitoring, specification and design.

In October of last year, the Trust launched Carbon Trust Implementation, a business aimed at helping companies reduce their energy costs and install greener, more efficient technology.

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One thought on “Inefficient Boilers Costing Firms $637m a Year, Carbon Trust Says

  1. There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that boilers are woefully inefficient. However that is not a prima facie argument to go out and buy more efficient boilers (despite the wishes of salesmen). The first question is whether load is real or merely apparent due to oversized plant, pointlessly throttled flow rates where a temperature modulation would be more appropriate (VSD are causing huge losses here), or simply badly sequenced (true of well over 90% of UK commercial sites).

    A wise owner will first ensure they know what they are trying to achieve (occupancy schedules and setpoints), and ensure that plant controls match these needs.

    Second that simple disciplines such as compensation, optimisation, and sequencing (matching demand to supply) are in place.

    Then and only then, are they in a position to know, empirically rather from benchmarks, what plant they need and how it should be configured.

    At this final stage new plant can be rationally considered. Failing this apporach new plant is bought (typically substantially over- dimensioned) and the client is locked into another 15 year waste cycle with no escape.

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