Printing operations use many pieces of energy intensive equipment, which can lead to high electricity bills as well as indirect air pollution, depending on how the electricity purchased is produced. Other energy used onsite, such as natural gas for boiler or heatset dryer firing, propane for forklifts, or any other fuel combustion can be both expensive and contribute to direct facility air emissions.
Best Management Practices & Pollution Prevention
In order to identify areas in which energy use can be reduced, conduct an energy audit. Many local utilities provide free energy audits for commercial buildings. It takes a quick call to arrange a convenient time for an audit. Audit reports commonly provide constructive, money saving suggestions to reduce energy use.
An energy auditor will ask questions about the gas heat and electric systems. He/she will go into every room of the building and take notes regarding the size of the vents, types and numbers of ceiling lights, and location of wall switches. The duct work and insulation in the attic are also examined.
Every situation is different, however it is likely that there are trained professionals at local utility companies that can help determine where you can reduce your energy consumption and save money.
Energy audits can also be completed internally, with staff knowledgeable about a facility’s energy needs. An internal energy audit should be a complete review of all energy utilizing process in the facility and should identify potential projects to reduce energy use. When completing an internal energy audit, some things to keep in mind are:
- Newly developed lighting, heat recovery, HVAC, building insulation and compressed air technologies make it likely that projects related to the manufacturing building and infrastructure will save the most energy and provide the best financial return.
- Process changes can also make a major impact on energy efficiency including motors, blankets and rollers, and ink pumping systems, all of which affect energy use.
- Equipment left on standby for extended periods of time is a commonly overlooked source of electricity consumption.
- Compressed air is often a source of inefficient energy use in printing operations. Regularly check compressed air lines for leaks, holes, and that compressed air supply matches demand.
For access to vendors who may supply alternative materials and equipment, see the PNEAC Vendor Directory.