What is energy efficiency?
Energy efficiency is a systematic process constituted by different stages. First, is performed an analysis of the current energy needs, then the technology scouting and finally the installation, operation and maintenance of the selected technologies. Another important component is the measurement, management and evaluation of the energy consumption in all relevant areas of operation.
How best to reduce energy consumption?
The simplest answer would be to replace the old appliances with modern and effective ones. In reality though, the solution is not so easy. In fact, the specific conditions of each operation have to be considered and the feasibility assessed. The basic prerequisite for a successful and sustainable efficiency improvement is the existence of an energy audit (not necessarily in terms of the legal act, when not prescribed by the law).
Does energy constitute a significant cost driver for companies?
Definitely yes. Energy costs rank among the top three highest cost items. Depending on the type of business, the top three highest costs are usually personnel, raw materials and energies. Reducing energy consumption, however, is often much easier than cutting labour or materials costs. A more efficient use of energy immediately improves the efficiency and competitiveness of the enterprise.
Which savings can be achieved?
It depends on the extent and type of the selected measures. For example a new, modern LED lighting system can, in less demanding operations (e.g. logistics, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering), achieve more than 50% savings compared to traditional technologies. In other cases, production processes generate enough waste heat that can be used for heating nearby premises or provide domestic hot water. For the best results, all measures will be combined and tailored to the specific context of each client.
Is the investment in energy efficiency profitable?
The return on investment depends on the achievable savings. While savings in energy consumption are the main advantage, lower costs of operation and maintenance have to be taken into account too. Also, new system are often automated, which means lower costs for salaries, administration and the possibility to employ labour force in more productive efforts. Furthermore, modern systems also secure the production, so that costs associated with the interruption of the production and faulty manufacture due to technological failures can be avoided. Consequently, an upgrade of the lighting system can be repaid quickly, especially in three-shift operating firms (the longer the lighting time, the higher the savings compared to traditional lighting systems). Depending on the condition of the infrastructure, new heat sources can be repaid relatively quickly too. In general terms, significant savings can be achieved in lighting, heating, cooling, air-conditioning and production of compressed air. Yet modernization of such systems requires investments.
Modernization requires investments – what if I do not have the resources?
Investments in energy efficiency measures can be repaid from savings. Several investment models are available, such as projects to reduce energy consumption that are repaid through the achieved savings in operating costs. Also financing can be included.
I have an energy audit. What's next?
In the audit are suggested measures to increase energy efficiency. These are based on the findings of the audit and can be from low or no-cost to very expensive. Among the no-cost measures are changes of behaviour in the workplace, such as switching off the lights when not needed, close the taps properly and closing doors and windows during the heating season. The introduction of such measures is in the interest of every businessman and does not require any professional help for implementation. Yet changing the behaviour of the employees, who should learn not to waste energy, will have an immediate effect. A specialised Energy Service Company, an ESCO, will help you in the technical-economical evaluation of the more complex measures, adapting each solution to your specific needs. The ESCO will take care of the project, including the implementation, helping you cutting costs in your Slovak plants.
How can I ensure the sustainability of the measures implemented and of the energy savings?
Measurement, control and evaluation of the energy consumption are the best way to systematically optimize and improve the overall energy efficiency, achieve sustainably of the reduction of energy consumption and cut operating costs.
Are there any "EU funds" related to energy efficiency investments?
Yes. EU programs for the period 2014-2020 offer a wide range of options to support the implementation of energy efficiency projects for the public sector, small and medium enterprises. We will advise you on how to use these options.
Why is today worth investing in LED lighting?
LEDs are today a widespread reality in private houses. In the industry, the interest for this technology is increasing more and more every day: after years of development and improvements, today's LED systems already have the reliability and ruggedness necessary for industrial applications. And they save electricity. Retail price of electricity is forcing users to resort to more energy-efficient technologies, which undoubtedly includes LEDs. Growing demand is pushing LED producers to broaden their activities. As a result, there is wide offer of LED light sources, respectively LED lamps, available on the market. The rule "quality corresponds to the price" applies here, too: more expensive lamps and sources generally have better light-technical parameters, longer life, easier maintenance, and ultimately a better user design. The difference between “cheap” and “expensive” LEDs can be even several tens of thousands of hours of lifetime.
Are LEDs really so much more economical than traditional light sources?
Yes, they are. To increase the quality of light – and thus the quality and safety of the workplace – while reducing electricity consumption, smart controlled LED systems are the only option. Keeping constant the level of illumination, LEDs savings compared to conventional technologies (in the industry incandescence lamps and fluorescent lamps) are on average 50 percent. Furthermore, LED technology continuously improves its efficiency (so-called luminous efficiency [lumen/W], i.e. more light for 1 Watt). Globally, about a third of the electricity is used for lighting. Effective systems can lead to a dramatic reduction of electricity consumption and thus cut the production of greenhouse gases.
Will I be able to maintain for the new intelligent LED control system?
Yes, you will. Maintaining LED systems is no more complicated than maintaining classic lighting. Life of the LED chips and electronics reaches 50,000 hours or more, which is about five years of non-stop lighting. Conventional lamps and tubes have lower life and their frequent replacement disproportionately affects corporate maintenance budgets. Here, LED systems can save considerable resources. Cleaning of optical parts is not more demanding than maintenance of classical lamps. When you are buying lamps for your facility, it is useful to check the IP rating: the higher the number, the more the lamp is resistant to external agents, the lower will be the maintenance.
Where can I save with LED lighting in addition to electricity consumed or cheaper maintenance?
Reliable and efficient lighting not only saves consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, but also increases the safety and quality of the workplace. The impact of light on the work activity is not negligible. It increases productivity, reduces accidents in the workplace, as well as the number of rejects produced. Reliable systems also reduce the total number of unproductive days due to service outages. All this has a positive impact on the profitability of the company. Reduced consumption of LEDs also increases reserves of backup sources, making them available for other technologies. New lighting complies with requirements and standards, i.e., there is no threat of fines imposed by competent authorities, and there are no problems associated with deteriorating health of employees.
When is the payback of an investment in LED?
When calculating the return on investment in a LED system, total number of hours of lighting is the most influential factor. The more hours of lighting per day, the higher electrical savings compared to the original system. Depending on the scope of the investment, if lighting more than 8 hours a day, the investment in LED systems is repayable within 2 – 5 years.
Where can I use LED light?
Today, LED systems are usable virtually in any industrial applications. Given the need for better heat dissipation from the light source, LED installation in areas with high temperature should be well considered and even better designed.
Can I evaluate the quality of LED lamp based on its picture in a catalogue?
The amount of aluminium is a good guide. Aluminium is the heatsink that provides cooling for the circuit boards. Simply put – the more aluminium, the better lamp.
Does the light from LEDs differ from light from traditional light sources?
Lamps with conventional ballasts (starter and choke) operate at a frequency of 50Hz. As a result, we perceive the flickering of such a light. It is a disruptive effect, adversely affecting eyes and in heavy industry can be extremely dangerous. LED operating frequency is higher by several orders. Therefore, human eye doesn´t perceive any flickering. The colour of the light is correlated with the temperature at which the LED operates (from warm 2700K to very cold 6000K) and the rendering index (recognition) of colours (so-called CRI) is more than 80 (maximum being 100).
What shall I do with LEDs after their lifetime?
After reaching their lifetime, LED sources do not extinguish. However, their light outputs drop and their design lighting levels may no longer meet the value required by standards. If the body is made of time-lasting materials (e.g., aluminium), the LED laps will still operate even when technologically outdated. Renowned manufacturers provide guarantees of availability of electrical components and spare parts often beyond ten years. Therefore, the brand and history of the manufacturer are important. Although you pay extra for the brand, you can be sure that you have sustainable technology. And this is true even despite continuous progress in the field of electronics.