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$10 million: That’s how much St Marys Cement of Bowmanville, ON has saved in electricity costs over the last eight years, since the company began working with the energy service consultancy 360 Energy to develop a comprehensive energy management program. Since that time St Marys has reduced their energy usage by more than 171 million kilowatt hours — plus lowered their CO2 emissions by 31,886 tonnes since 2009. “We have created a plant-wide energy management process that touches upon all aspects of energy use,” said Fabio Garcia, St Marys Cement’s general manager. “Since energy makes up 30-35 per cent of our overall production costs, saving this kind of money is huge. It allows us to be more competitive in the North American market, while reducing our impact on the environment.”
In recognition of St Marys Cement’s outstanding progress, the independent UK-based National Energy Foundation has awarded the company a Gold Level Certification in Energy Excellence. The company’s earlier efforts earned it a Silver Level Certification in 2009.
This same award-winning approach is now available to CME members through the association’s new CME-360 Energy Coach Program (http://www.2020magazine.ca/en/newsletter/ontario/june-2014/new-energy-coach-program.htm). CME is seeking applications from up to 20 manufacturing companies to participate in its initial pilot program. Eligible companies who spend more than $500,000 in annual energy expenditures can earn a $5,000 rebate towards the program’s starts-at-$18,000 cost ($24,000 for non-CME members) by completing the program milestones. As developed and mentored by 360 Energy, the Energy Coach program brings trained consultants into a client company to analyze its workflow and areas of potential energy savings. But that’s just the beginning: The 360 Energy approach includes training client staff members to serve as ‘Energy Coaches’ who develop, recommend and implement energy-saving policies and changes on an ongoing basis. The result is an in-house energy management team drawn from all major departments that comes up with energy-saving ideas, many of them not requiring any capital investment to put into action.
“Because these Energy Coaches are drawn from the client company’s existing staff, there isn’t an additional manpower charge to launch and maintain the program,” explained David Arkell, 360 Energy’s president and CEO. “The use of a team approach also adds to the group’s knowledge base for identifying energy-saving opportunities and translating them into action.”
Energy costs have always been an issue for Canadian manufacturers. But rising energy costs — particularly in Ontario — are a real threat to their competitiveness. “It is incredibly
difficult to compete when your company is working in the highest energy price jurisdiction on the continent,”said CME Ontario Vice President Ian Howcroft. “Finding ways to reduce energy costs is absolutely vital for our member companies not just to survive, but to thrive as well.”
St Marys Cement has taken this truth to heart, and applied it in many creative ways. For instance, “we know that electricity costs much more at peak times than at off-peak times,” said Fabio Garcia. “So we have tailored our manufacturing process to align with these times, with the heaviest production occurring during off-peak hours. We also schedule our maintenance such that our electrically-driven components are off-line during peak periods. Both of these tactics save us money, without hurting our production efficiency.”
Durez Canada Company of Fort Erie, ON is a CME member who has recently hired 360 Energy to develop their own energy management program. A manufacturer of phenolic resins and molding compounds that are used mainly for automotive applications, Durez Canada is highly motivated to reduce their energy costs in order to remain competitive.
Robert Hunt is Durez Canada’s plant manager, and one of his company’s designated energy coaches. “With the move toward an Energy Management Team, the whole central team — made up of all parts of the organization as it includes finance, maintenance, production and engineering — will look to promote and more importantly do coaching activities to drive the awareness of energy usage down to everyone at the location,” said Hunt. “It will no longer be enough to constantly remind everyone at the plant to shut lights off when not in use. We will look to provide the means by which timely energy information is available when needed and ingrain an awareness of energy practices down to the operator level.”
Although Durez Canada has just begun the Energy Coach consulting process with 360 Energy, the company is already seeing results. “During a survey of our air compressor, we learned that 30 percent of its energy is being used in standby mode, just to keep the system pressurized in response to leaks!” Hunt said.
“The CME Energy Coach program provides our members with a real strategy to reduce their energy costs not just now, but into the future,” said Ian Howcroft. “Anything they can do to reduce their costs is good for their business, and the Canadian economy. The Energy Coach program can deliver those savings for them, as it has already for St Marys Cement.”