Conserving energy is everyone’s responsibility

Rising energy costs have given business leaders a wake-up call that energy is an operational necessity that must be managed diligently.

Ane Arnbjerg is Six Sigma and Effluent Plant Manager at Sun Chemical in Denmark. She explains how energy savings can be everyone’s responsibility.

Arnbjerg will be a speaker at the marcus evans Industrial Energy Efficiency Conference taking place on 4 - 5 July in Berlin.

“We all want to have good business practices and are aware that if we save energy it not only has financial benefits but is important for the climate and the environment. If people fail to pitch in and take responsibility then nothing will happen.

“At Sun Chemical following our monitoring of energy consumption we gained more awareness of what needed to be done. As a result it’s now much easier to save energy.”

Among the measures Sun Chemical, a large scale producer of inks and pigments for the packaging industry, has taken to improve energy efficiency are the use of heat pumps in place of using steam.

This had significant knock-on results saving “enormous amounts of energy,” according to Arnbjerg.

“There have also been various small changes made to our processes that resulted in much greater energy efficiency and conservation. A marked improvement has been seen as a result of these measures with savings to the tune of 4,750 megawatt hours or 4.7 million kilowatts in 2010.

“Energy conservation is part of some of our Six Sigma projects and energy mapping has played a role in this. Modifying processes was a big part of our savings as energy costs are one of our top two overheads.”

Energy mapping has been an eye opener in some areas, she adds.

“It’s about changing the way things have always been done and encouraging questions to be asked and finding ways to improve.”

Employee awareness is pivotal when it comes to energy efficiency, she says. “It’s very important because it’s the feedback from our operators that we take on board. They offer ideas because they are well placed and have firsthand experience with the processes. It’s all about doing things smarter.”   

Business and industry still need to be proactive when it comes to energy efficiency. “There is more that can be done definitely. At Sun Chemical we have taken the low hanging fruit but there’s still a lot to do. Previously we did not know what our energy consumption was but today we have a system where everyone has access to their department’s energy usage and it can be compared to what the level was last year.”

The marcus evans Industrial Energy Efficiency Conference will take place on 4 - 5 July in Berlin.