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ArcelorMittal Dofasco: Finding a Starting Point

ArcelorMittal Woodstock embarked on their journey towards a more sustainable energy culture, enrolling in the Energy Coach Program offered by 360 Energy as a way of pulling together its internal resources.

The Challenge

In 2008, ArcelorMittal Woodstock embarked on their journey towards a more sustainable energy culture. The plant enrolled in the Energy Coach Program offered by 360 Energy with utility sponsorship from Union Gas and generated annual savings over $400k. The site had recently undergone a dramatic change in consumption pattern/level due to fluctuating production mixes and the launch of a new internal production program.

As a result, energy management was at a stand still with no coordinated approach on reducing their energy consumption. The base-load for the plant was approximately 30% of its full operating load. The reduced activity shifts such as midnights were also near 50% of full operating load. Due to the complexity of the plant and the size of the operations, the team began looking for simple solutions to reduce the energy usage during idle/low production periods. Under the direction of Marc Leclerc the plant began pulling its internal resources together.

The Process

To get started the team underwent the Sustainable Energy Plan training. Here they began pulling together the basics of when, where and how to look for these no cost savings. With the aid of the various departments on the plant floor, the program began slowly taking shape. The targets were set out with annual savings values calculated for each level of reduction. Each weekend the plant would identify and target more redundant loads and check on previous items that were to be shut down.

By November 2008, the plant had identified and turned down 500kw for the weekend period. This was due to a large campaign through the automotive, tube and maintenance division of the plant. All plant level efforts were led by team lead Ed Pace. Each day, the online reporting system provided through the Energy Coach Program was monitored for excessive variations. By December 2008, they had identified and turned down 83 redundant items in the plant. This has reduced the base-load to 20% of the operating level of the plant. Using the funds from the savings, they are now investigating lighting solutions to create more lighting with less energy throughout the facility. The plant has installed test fixtures through the site to determine the perfect lighting layout while driving energy savings. Current layouts show a savings near $120k annually with the new system.

However, it doesn’t stop there. A progressive organization like ArcelorMittal also continues to drive energy savings through the financial arena as well. With the recent gas and oil market crash, the plant was looking very closely at the market pricing for natural gas and their annual budget. After reviewing options and bids from tier 1 suppliers, the plant was able to save an additional $37k through best practices on procurement and utility account management of energy commodity. This strategy reduced their budget for the winter gas period and solidified their input costs.

The local gas and electric utility are also involved and updated as to the progress of the plant to determine the impact of rate changes, regulatory rule changes and new incentive programs available to the site. The employees are continually updated as to the progress and up-coming energy events with frequent energy postings on the company information boards. The most recent postings outlined what the staff can do at home to reduce their winter heating demand with simple maintenance items outside and inside their homes while providing an update of what they have been able to accomplish with simple behavioural changes.

The Future

For 2009, the team is looking to integrate the new procedures into the written operating instructions and strategically pursue the level 2 savings that exist with further reduction of base-load and improvements that can be made with the existing compressed air and HVAC systems.

“The effort put forth by the plant this year is something we should all be proud of. Employees in the facility have made this possible, and it wouldn’t have been a success if they hadn’t participated. Thank you for your continued support and congratulations on a job well done” – Ed Pace