Winning through energy savings - doing more with less

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Less can mean more

Cutting energy waste delivers an immediate boost, the same production at lower cost. How you measure productivity will depend on the business you're in. Decreasing costs could be the most cost-effective way of improving productivity, whilst keeping your product lines going.

Hellers and Active Refrigeration partnered to use waste heat to produce hot water. Hellers has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 91% and is saving $148,000 a year on energy. Their continuous improvement programme is reinvesting the money saved into maintenance and upgrades elsewhere in the plant.

Hellers is an organisation that has grown very rapidly over a relatively short period of time, and the capital investment in the business is largely in expansion of buildings,
installing new processes, efficient product lines, and it's not very often we get an
opportunity for investment into some of the infrastructure that's supporting the site.

We're very dependent on a lot of hot water to get the equipment clean. Traditionally, it's been very expensive for us to generate that water. The facilities were not the best, so not only was it expensive to make, but we'd often run out of hot water temperature by the end of the cleaning shift. It was certainly an opportunity to invest in getting more hot water capacity,but getting it more efficiently was very attractive.

Strategies such as this heat pump, it's a long-term benefit for us, because as this plant grows, there's more and more floor area that at the end of the day has to be washed with hot water, so that's more and more throughput through this investment that we've already done with this one heat pump.

This plant presently is producing a coefficient of performance of 8.3. So for every kilowatt in, 8.3 kilowatts of energy out, at 65 degrees C, from cold water coming in at 13 degrees.

So we're very proud, and Hellers rightly, so it's a good achievement. So when we now review the cost to generate the hot water from where we were before, using LPG through our steam boilers to where we are now, with the majority of our hot water generated through this heat pump, we're seeing an 84% reduction in our generating costs.

There's further steps that we can now make to produce even hotter water, even more efficient. The more we can reduce our operating costs, the better potential there is for more business growth, and business growth means continued expansion and continued new job opportunities for the local area.

Increased productivity helps businesses prosper, which is good for the economy, and that in turn is good for the whole of New Zealand.