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Steam Partnerships: Case Study of Improved Energy Efficiency
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Effective energy management involves expertise in three core areas: commodity supply, generation (production) and distribution/utilization. Historically, energy providers have only been partially successful in fulfilling the needs of industrial energy consumers. They have supplied the energy commodities (fuel, electricity, or water) and may have even assisted with energy (steam) generation and production. But in most cases, their assistance and expertise came up short when dealing with the distribution and utilization of energy within the facility, particularly when addressing steam-based energy systems. The fully integrated approach to energy management requires proven experience in the optimization of steam distribution and utilization, areas where the highest percentage of utility costs are variable. A unique energy services alliance was recently structured and implemented with one of the largest health care linen service facilities in southern New York. The existing power plant was acquired from the client and upgraded. An extensive discovery-engineering audit was performed to identify major improvements that were subsequently made to the site utility systems. Particular emphasis was placed on the steam system with most of the first phase optimization work directed at improving the distribution and utilization of steam energy. Overall, this "steam partnership" captured a 17% average reduction in energy usage through the implementation of six energy savings projects. Outsourcing this activity allowed the client to refocus capital and internal resources on growing the core linen services business. To ensure continued interest by both parties over the ten-year agreement, a unique billing formula was structured that indexes total utility costs against laundry processed by the facility and incentifies both parties to drive down energy usage over the long term. The responsibility for managing and tracking the supply of energy commodities was also transferred from the client. This integrated approach combines all three energy areas (supply, generation and distribution) under a single optimization entity. The following paper describes the subject facility and the savings projects that were implemented. The results are summarized in a graph that shows an index of energy usage to laundry processed and compares a baseline period to actual performance after project implementation.
Calogero, M. V.; Hess, R. E.; Leigh, N. (2002). Steam Partnerships: Case Study of Improved Energy Efficiency. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu). Available electronically from