Top 6 Ways to Stop Energy Loss and Save Money

Top 6 Ways to Stop Energy Loss and Save Money

Electrical maintenance includes reducing energy waste. Here are six ways to stop energy loss in commercial buildings and industrial facilities, and where to look for cost saving opportunities.

1. The Building Envelope (a facility’s structure and climate controls within. What separates the outside environment from the inside.)

What to scan:

  • Roofs. In addition to looking for moisture issues, scan the roof surface and follow thermal differences to identify possible air leak entry and exit points.
  • Walls between conditioned and unconditioned spaces, including outside walls. Significant air leaks tend to occur at the top and bottom of conditioned spaces, where air can enter or escape a structure.
  • Penetrations of the building envelope (pipes, conduits, chimneys, etc.). Uninsulated or unsealed gaps often exist around roof and wall penetrations.
  • Door and window frames and seals. Locate air leaks around windows, doors and casings caused by worn or missing seals or improper insulation. Repairs are often as simple as caulking or weather stripping.

2. Boilers

What to scan:

  • Refractory and insulation. In-service monitoring and inspection of refractory linings can be performed using thermal imagers.
  • Fan motors. Check for impeded airflow, electrical unbalance, overheated bearings and failing winding insulation.
  • Pumps. Look for hot bearings, leaking seals and motor faults.
  • Valves. Thermal imagers can identify blocked valves that are nominally open and leaking valves that are nominally closed.
  • Electrical connections. Look for loose or corroded connections that increase electrical resistance and contribute to I2R losses.

3. Motors and generators

What to scan:

  • Airflow. In fan-cooled motors, restricted airflow can cause overheating, which can manifest on the entire housing.
  • Electrical unbalance. Look for load imbalance and single phasing which can contribute to unexpected loss.
  • Bearings. Thermal imagers can reveal bearing housings with abnormally high temperatures.
  • Winding Insulation. Look for higher than normal housing temperatures in areas associated with windings.
  • Electrical connections. Look for loose or corroded connections that increase resistance and contribute to I2R losses.

4. Steam systems

What to scan:

  • Steam traps. Check traps for proper operation through complete cycle.
  • Radiator coils. Check for obvious steam leaks in radiators and at all visible pipe and joint connections.
  • Steam lines and valves. Look for leaks, blockages and blow- by at valves that are supposed to be “closed.”
  • Condensers. Look for outside air leakage, which reduces the condenser’s vacuum performance and energy efficiency.

5. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems

What to scan:

  • Ductwork and registers. Check for duct leakage and
  • improper/inadequate installation.
  • Fans and blowers. Thermal imagers can help identify overheated bearings and components, and misalignment in couplings between the motor and fan.
  • Electrical connections. Look for loose or corroded connections, which increase electrical resistance and reduce energy efficiency.
  • Compressors and coils. If coils are blocked or cooling fins are clogged, improper airflow and heat exchange can take place, reducing system efficiency and component lifespan.

6. Electrical Systems

What to scan:

  • Distribution panels. Check for unbalance in circuits and loose, corroded connections at breakers, contacts, fuse clips, buss work, etc.
  • Transformers. If the temperature of one electrical leg on a transformer is significantly hotter than the others, that leg may be failing.
  • Lighting control circuits. Check all wiring splices and connections at fuses, switches, panels and fixtures.

*Fluke Thermography Find-It Guide