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Tips To Reduce Energy Waste in Manufacturing

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manufacturing tips

How are manufacturers reducing energy waste? There is no one answer to reducing carbon emissions and everyone has their role to play.

The manufacturing sector has one of the biggest carbon footprints in the world. In fact, it’s estimated to be second only to the meat industry.

The dangers of environmental change are very real. Manufacturing businesses have a responsibility when it comes to helping protect the environment.

The fact that environmental practices and saving money go hand in hand is an incentive business owners can not ignore. Energy costs money, right? So if you’re wasting energy, you’re wasting money.

In short, saving energy is saving money. Reduce waste, and your business should see an increase in profit.


Energy waste in the manufacturing process isn’t always the fault of a company simply not caring, though. There are plenty of problems that occur in manufacturing that actually result in a lot of energy waste. You may see them only as things that slow down productivity. But they can actually have big effects on your energy usage.


Let’s say you have a particular machine that isn’t working as well as it used to. Let’s use a specific example. Say you have a laser cutting machine. It used to be able to perform the necessary work on a hundred pieces of metal an hour. These days, it’s down to eighty. It’s not working as well as it used to, probably because of simple degradation. Here’s the problem: most of the time, machines in this scenario won’t be using less energy. Their output will be lower, but their energy input will be the same. So a fault with your machine is actually causing energy waste.

It could be as simple as replacing the machine, though this can be quite costly. A lot of the time, you simply need to slow down production for a short time while you get the issue fixed. If it’s just one part of the machine, then replacing that part should be easy.

Let’s take another example. Say you have a gas compressor that’s leaking. That leaking gas (aside from being, you know, a safety hazard) means that energy input is being wasted. The best thing to do is replace the compressor with one that reduces gas emission. In such a case, you could look at industrial gas compressor manufacturer PDC Machines.

Reducing Energy Waste Strategies

Manufacturers are implementing various strategies and technologies to reduce energy waste in their plants. Environmental concerns, cost-saving initiatives, and regulatory requirements often drive these efforts.

Energy-efficient equipment

Manufacturers are upgrading their machinery and equipment to more energy-efficient models. This includes using variable-speed drives, high-efficiency motors, and advanced process control systems to optimize energy consumption.

Process optimization

Through data analysis and process modeling, manufacturers can identify inefficiencies in their production processes. By optimizing workflows and adjusting operating parameters, they can minimize energy waste while maintaining production quality.

Waste heat recovery

Manufacturers are implementing waste heat recovery systems to capture and reuse excess heat generated during production processes. This recovered heat can be used to preheat incoming materials or to generate steam, reducing the need for additional energy input.

Renewable energy sources

Some manufacturers are investing in on-site renewable energy sources such as solar panels, wind turbines, or biomass systems. This allows them to generate a portion of their energy needs from sustainable sources and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.

LED lighting

Upgrading to energy-efficient LED lighting systems in manufacturing facilities can significantly reduce electricity consumption compared to traditional lighting technologies.

Building envelope improvements

Enhancing the insulation, windows, and roofing of manufacturing facilities can improve energy efficiency by reducing the need for heating and cooling.

Demand-side management

Manufacturers are using advanced energy management systems to monitor and control energy consumption in real-time. This enables them to optimize energy usage based on production demands and utility pricing.

Employee engagement

Training and raising employee awareness about energy-efficient practices can lead to behavioral changes that reduce energy waste, such as turning off equipment when not in use and properly maintaining machinery.

Lean manufacturing principles

Implementing lean manufacturing practices can lead to more streamlined processes, reduced waste, and improved energy efficiency.

Cogeneration and combined heat and power (CHP) systems

These systems generate both electricity and useful heat from a single fuel source. CHP systems can be highly efficient, especially in industries with significant heat requirements.

Smart grid integration

Manufacturers can work with utility providers to participate in demand response programs, where they adjust their energy consumption based on grid conditions and receive incentives for reducing energy use during peak periods.

Life cycle assessments

Manufacturers are considering the entire life cycle of their products, from raw material extraction to end-of-life disposal, to identify opportunities for reducing energy consumption and waste.

These strategies are often implemented as part of a comprehensive energy management plan tailored to each manufacturing facility’s specific needs and processes. The goal is to minimize energy waste, reduce operational costs, and contribute to a more sustainable production process.

Energy audits

Regular energy audits help manufacturers identify areas of energy waste and opportunities for improvement. These audits can provide insights into where energy is being used inefficiently and suggest corrective actions.

A lot of people assume that “being audited” is a bad thing. That’s because it’s usually associated with the IRS coming after you for tax mishaps. (Of course, it should be pointed out that the only people who worry about getting audited by the IRS are people doing something wrong.) But what exactly is an audit? An audit is a financial inspection, sure. But do the companies who do audits always look for criminal activity?

No: financial inspections are usually undertaken to find better ways of doing things. So how exactly does this play into manufacturing and energy usage? Well, the energy you use isn’t just an environmental worry but also a financial concern. So getting an energy audit also works as a sort of financial inspection.

Basically, an energy audit sees your entire manufacturing process being reviewed. It will be found if there’s a way to improve energy usage. If you’re using more energy on one aspect than you are on another, it will be noted. You can start making informed improvements when you have all of this data.