Despite some sectors of the economy showing signs of slowing down, there is a continuing drive by industry to reduce energy costs.
This has enabled the Energy Efficiency Services (EES) division of Compressed Air and Power Solutions (CAPS) Australia to expand its range of services and increase the number of staff available to carry out the numerous compressed air energy audits it conducts each year.
Investing more than $150,000 in its growth, EES has pursued an aggressive expansion strategy to fit the needs of compressed air users that are looking for an independent approach to analysis of their energy use.
"With compressed air being responsible for ten to 15 percent of industrial electricity use Australia-wide, an air audit can reveal surprising opportunities to reduce energy consumption and overall business costs," said Quentin St Baker, national manager, Energy Efficiency Services.
"We identified that there was a pressing need for a flexible and dynamic audit system that allowed for comprehensive analysis of any compressed air system, regardless of the manufacturer," St Baker stated.
"From there we consulted with many compressed air users to ensure that our solution was world-class and represented best practice principles."
Sustainability continues to be a major goal of business across most industry sectors. A key factor in this is the minimisation of energy consumption and waste of resources. EES quickly acted upon this industry brief and devised a solution that could benefit many organisations.
The company devised a custom-designed software suite and comprehensive air audit hardware package, which was teamed with extensive training, and development of engineers and technicians nationwide to undertake audits. To assist in driving implementable recommendations, additional industry-leading experts were also employed to conduct the air audits, provide analysis and provide independent reports.
Since the implementation of these growth strategies, EES has gained considerable attention from the market, chairing several panel discussions at energy industry forums and presenting papers at major conferences.
"It's been exciting to have gained the attention we have and our services are proving to be extremely popular. This has led to us employing more senior consultants and driving continued staff development," said St Baker.
According to St Baker, there are still opportunities for companies to streamline processes to reduce energy consumption and costs resulting in the growth of energy efficiency services and air audits.
"The carbon tax is just one factor that has changed the energy efficiency landscape. It is no longer people at the shop floor who are implementing ad hoc projects to improve efficiency," St Baker said.
"Today we are seeing senior management driving initiatives and asking what can be done to reduce energy costs."
While compressed air is an important and major part of most manufacturing and industrial processes, many systems operate inefficiently with old technology or ineffective controls. Large volumes of air are wasted through leaks, inappropriate usage and other artificial demands such as over-pressurisation. Audits regularly show that less than half of the compressed air produced is used for actual productive activities.
With the right advice and experience it is possible for companies to rapidly achieve significant savings. Making use of the audit expertise of a consultant to develop commercially viable and operationally feasible solutions will help companies achieve their goals.