Matt Migliore
Matt Migliore

Last month, a “Trendlines Poll” on FlowControlNetwork.com asked visitors to our website “Where does your organization stand on energy management?” The poll results as of Oct. 27 revealed that 54.5 percent of respondents do not have an energy management program; 9.1 percent have an established energy management program; and 36.4 percent have achieved or are in the process of third-party certification of their energy management program, such as meeting ISO 50001, etc.

So while this poll suggests there are certainly a good number of organizations proactively engaged in energy management, there remains a huge chunk of industry that has yet to get serious about energy conservation. Environmental impacts aside, when you consider the cost of energy and the bottom-line savings associated with maximizing the efficiency of industrial processes, one has to wonder why so many organizations seem to be lagging when it comes to energy management.

For me, the importance of industrial energy management has taken shape during my repeated visits to the Pump Guy Seminar—a training program we have been presenting for the past five years with Larry Bachus (a.k.a. “The Pump Guy”), one of our regular columnists. During each Pump Guy Seminar, somebody in attendance inevitably says the reason they are at the training is because they are spending too much time and money fixing “bad actor” pumps. Larry then spends the next three days explaining how it’s not the pump that’s the “bad actor,” but rather “bad application,” “bad operation,” or “bad maintenance” (or all of the above). And he explains that the cost of repairing and/or replacing a pump is nowhere near the cost of energy wasted by operating a pump away from its best efficiency point.

FC-1112-CA_Fig1In the July issue of Flow Control (“Energy Matters,” pages 14–20), Larry quantified the cost of operating a pump at 72 percent efficiency vs. 83 percent efficiency: “… a centrifugal water pump allowed to operate inefficiently without correction or intervention by the operator, can waste almost $9,900 per day, or $3.5 million per year for every 1,000 GPM of raw water moved.” In that same article, Larry noted that while his example examined a pump operating at 72 percent efficiency: “It’s a well-known fact that most process pumps languish between 10 percent to 40 percent efficiency simply because the operators and engineers lack proper training. These same pumps could be operating at 80 percent to 85 percent efficient with proper attention.”

When you consider numbers like these, you don’t have to be a “tree hugger” to see the value of energy efficiency. So again I ask, why are so many industrial organizations lagging on energy management? If you have thoughts and/or would like to share some details on where you stand on industrial energy management, I welcome your emails.

Matt Migliore is Flow Control's Executive Director of Content. He can be reached at Matt@GrandViewMedia.com.