Hidden energy costs from heating and air pressure systems that break down to lights that are never turned off are common in most companies.
However, it can be difficult to improve energy efficiency and reduce operations and maintenance costs without expertise from outside.
This is one important thing that more than 200 companies such as compressor company Secop, soft drinks company Coca-Cola and Portugal’s biggest drinks company Unicer have learned after having bought in expertise from Danfoss Solutions, an energy service company (ESCO) and part of the Danfoss Group.
“I doubt that we could have done it ourselves. It’s much easier to do something when someone from outside tells you what to do,” says Maintenance Manager Allan Pedersen, of Coca-Cola Denmark.
Initially, he was sceptical as to whether energy savings could be achieved at the plant, which was just six years old when the project began. However, a year and a half later, 270,000 Euros had been saved on energy costs.
EBIT improved by 1,500,000 Euros
Packaging Manager at Unicer Jose Aleixo agrees that external expertise is necessary to run a project successfully: “When we started to look at how we could save energy at our brewery in Porto we expected to save 600,000 Euros, but we found that with help from Danfoss Solutions we could save another 500,000 Euros annually. We are now running the second phase of the project and we realise we can save even more. It’s an ongoing process.”
Unicer started to cooperate with Danfoss Solutions and to implement energy savings at their brewery in Porto in 2006 and since then electricity consumption has dropped by 10% and fuel (steam) by about 20%, despite a 23% volume increase in production. Annually, carbon emissions have reduced by 3,400 tons.
Finally, Unicer has made cost savings of 1,080,000 Euros annually and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) broke even after 9 months and improved by 1,500,000 Euros during the three-year project period.
The results are so remarkable that Unicer has also implemented energy-saving projects at the brewery and soft drink plant in Santarem and four mineral water plants.
Reducing energy costs was a way to scale up production in other countries and today Unicer is among the best performing breweries in the Carlsberg Group.
Employees have a changed mindset
An important component of implementing an energy-saving project in a company is to involve all employees.
And it pays off, says Packaging Manager Jose Aleixo: “The best thing about the project is that we have changed people’s mindset inside our company. They have actually started to care about energy savings because they can see that what we do is working. In the second phase of the project we will continue to receive some support from Danfoss Solutions, but we would like them to be backstage because the main tasks are now driven by our own staff. People have changed their behavior and now know how to save energy."
No cure, no pay concept
Danfoss Solutions have helped companies globally to reduce utility costs and CO2 emissions through investments with a payback time of 2 to 3 years. The customer is guaranteed that utility savings will meet or exceed a given level. If the targeted savings are not met, Danfoss Solutions pays the shortfall – “no cure, no pay”!
President of Danfoss Solutions Johnnie R. Jensen says that energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective ways to cut operating costs and reduce CO2 emissions. “The risk of investing in energy savings is so little that there is a good way forward here for the coming years.”
Pictured right: The Portugese brewery Unicer has learned how to save energy and has made annual cost savings of more than 1 million Euros at the brewery in Portu.