Major Md Mizanur Rahman Khan(Retd)


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…………save Earth

An Energy Efficiency Managements/Strategy /Policy is an action plan to manage the supply, procurement, cost, and efficiency of energy across all areas of an RMG/Apparel Manufacturing Industries/business. A carefully planned and implemented energy strategy can offer a legitimate & significant return on investment (ROI) with a specific payback period.

Energy efficiency simply means using less energy to perform the same task – that is, eliminating Energy waste. Energy efficiency brings a variety of benefits: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing demand for energy imports, and lowering our costs on an Industry and economy-wide level.

For an Emerging RMG /Apparel Group, acquiring dedicated, reliable, cost effected, efficient, secured, safe & sustainable ENERGY SOURCES are prerequisites for smooth & steady Business Growth, Branding Image & get valued by BRAND/ Buyers. Energy Efficiency in Factories/ Facilities cuts cost by 10-25% due to which we are struggling to improve competitiveness & helps safeguard profits.

 Energy Efficiency will also enhance RMG/Apparels Organizational reputation to Brands as it will also reduce Carbon emissions vis a vis establish Carbon & water footprint. It will surely help to combat Environment Pollution /Climate change which will facilitate us to increase order volume from major buyers like H&M, GAP  & Wal*Mart as they value it.

Energy costs can be significant expenses for manufacturers of all shapes and sizes. Our processes may require vast amounts of energy to keep production moving—heating, cooling, lighting, and more. Scaling back our energy expenses can improve our bottom line and lead to increased profitability. If we do not have a strategic plan to conserve energy, it is time for action.

An energy audit is vital to identifying opportunities for improvement. During this process, our lighting systems, HVAC, and production line equipment are inspected and evaluated. Some manufacturers form an internal team to conduct the assessment, but if we do not have team members who can manage the process, we may want to consider enlisting the assistance of energy experts. Whichever route we choose, here are some tips on how we can reduce energy costs:

1. Evaluate Compressed Air & steam Systems for Leaks

Leaks can be a major source of wasted energy, and correcting them can help us realize significant immediate savings. Reports indicate that leaks can lead to a 20 to 30 percent loss of a compressor’s & Boiler’s output. They can also diminish the effectiveness of our equipment.

There are various ways to determine if we have leaks in our system like undertaking an air & steam leak survey. Ultrasonic & thermal detection equipment is available for finding smaller leaks as well. Common causes for leaks include missing seals or welds, loose tubes and hoses, and worn materials. Depending on the cause, rectifying leaks may be as simple as tightening up fittings or replacing minor parts.

2. Upgrade RMG /Apparel Machineries & Equipments (Sewing & Non-sewing)

Keeping our equipment in good working condition is vital to becoming more energy efficient. Retro-commissioning systematically looks for equipment in our facility/factory operating below optimal standards. Retro-fitting involves replacing outdated or inefficient equipment. But let not just associate this with major pieces of equipment in the factory/ facility. Realistically, a new Gen-set / Boiler/ HVAC /Steam /Drying/Washing/Air Compressor/LED Lighting system may just be out of the question. However, savings from upgrading ageing equipment to include ceiling fans, Industrial Exhaust Fan motors, and computers can add up in the long run. Implement a schedule for evaluating and maintaining all your equipment—not just the main ones.

3. Install Energy-Efficient Lighting

RMG/Apparel Manufacturing facilities need to be well-lit, so it’s critical that energy-efficient lighting is properly installed. Industrial compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can help businesses use less energy.

4. Power down Equipment

Virtually every piece of technology in your facility/factory runs on electricity. When our employees/workers are not in their offices/factories, whether it is overnight or for an extended period, remind them to shut down their computers and other equipment, or place them into sleep mode. And if you have networked computers, our administrator might be able to adjust power settings for more efficient usage. The savings do add up. For example, if it costs taka per kWh, reducing 2,400 kWh a month by turning things off would help us save at least Tk 24000×12=2,88,000 tk annually. We can use this to invest in more equipment upgrades, leading to even more energy savings.

5. Improve Process Heating

Process heating is required to make most fabrics & finished goods, and it can be responsible for more than one-third of a facility’s energy usage. We can save the energy within this area by installing waste heat recovery systems, leveraging alternative fuels with higher combustion efficiency, installing automatic blowdown control systems, affirming proper furnace installation, and controlling exhaust gases.

6. Can Take Advantage of Consumption Periods

Determine when the most energy is used during the day and evaluate which processes consume the greatest amount of energy. Is there room for change? Electrical rates can vary depending on the timing of energy consumption, allowing businesses to strategically adjust their operating hours accordingly. If possible, avoid “peak period rates,” which usually occur from 5 pm to 11 pm.

7. Onboarding & engaging Employees & workers to establish “Energy Culture”

Conservation efforts will not be successful unless our employees/workers are on board. Communicate and emphasize the importance of reducing energy consumption, and put it in terms of how savings can benefit the workplace. Which is more effective?

  • “ Let’s not forget to turn off our Office equipments.”
  • “If we reduce energy costs, we may have enough savings to invest in a new piece of equipment to make our job easier. “We together can do it.”
  • Establish Energy Culture/habit through awareness, motivation & through effective interactive In house training (Energy Behavior Change).

Getting our staff/workers involved will also empower them to develop new ideas. By implementing a more effective energy strategy for our Industry/business,  We can begin to reduce our energy consumption and significant expenses.

Energy Efficiency can be achieved through the following stages:

  1. Stage -1 Conduct Energy Audit & Create Awareness on Energy Culture by T&OD /Factory Training Team (FTT).
  2. Stage-2 Remediation Work in line with Energy Audit Observations & Train concern Factory Team to ensure appropriate maintenance.
  3. Stage -3 Compare the use/cost between the Energy Audit phase & after Remediation.

 Energy Audit, Awareness, motivation, In House Training for Energy Culture & Remediation, will help us to achieve the followings:

  1. Improvement of gas/fossil fuel operated Boiler/other appliances Efficiency from 45% up to 70% & Captive Power plant Efficiency by 85% through Cogeneration, Regeneration & tri-generation which will give us a significant scope of cost savings as well reduce factory inside pollution.  Periodic (6 months/ 12 months) Air & fuel (Gas/Fossil Fuel) adjustment / through Gas analyzer will surely optimize the use of gas/fuel, Combustion Efficiency & reduce significant cost. Fixing & operating EGB with Flue gas of Captive Power Genset will surely reduce huge costs.
  2.  Appropriate design of Steam supply line, materials (G-trap & steam trap) & proper insulation of steam line, finally recovery of condensing to insulated tank for reuse warm enhance efficiency as part of cogeneration. Use of Low-pressure Iron system.

(VEITT/Namoto Brand) will also increase/enhance Efficiency.

  • Use of LED lighting system, Servo motor/VSD/VFD/Inverters with all types of motor (Compressor, sewing & non-sewing machine) will save a minimum 40-60% cost of Electricity.
  • Appropriate insulation of AC pipeline & proper maintenance filters will surely reduce 20-30% electric cost.
  • Feasibility of Auto blowdown system, use of Economizer (More than 1 Ton Boiler) as pre-heater & moister separator before Header, preheater, Heat Exchanger can be examined & if possible introduced to make it Energy Efficient.   
  • Arranging & fixing of Feed Water Treatment Plant & Softening Plant will also increase Efficiency.
  • Arrange Hot water  for Washing & dyeing through Jacket water Heat &  Flue gas as part of regeneration & Tri-generation
  • Convert Gas/Fuel operated Boiler,  Genset & other Appliance as “ENERGY EFFICIENT” appliances.
  • Arrange & fixation of Electronic Volumetric Counter (EVC) meter to reduce further  10-25% gas bill as per actual pressure at the gas line connected to those Factory/facilities where they use more than 5000cfh gas.
  • Meticulous & careful assessment/ calculation of Maximum Demand Load of Energy/Electricity for a Factory considering optimum requirement will surely make a scope to reduce Tariff rate, PFC, Sanctioned Load, Maximum Demand Load, Appropriate Load Management will also allow us to avail Peak /Off Pick Tariff & VAT 5% on the total bill amount. On-time payment will also ensure avoidance of Late Payment Charges.
  • Water Footprint may be established in line with the strategy of Partnership in Cleaner Textile (PaCT).
  1. Possibility & feasibility of Environmental Friendly Energy Source like Roof Top Solar Power & Vertical Wind Turbine may please be utilized.
  2. Establish Energy Culture/habit through awareness, motivation effective interactive In house training & continuous improvement for a sustainable outcome will allow us to save significant cost. Further Brain Storming, feedback & suggestion of all stake Holders & users will surely allow us to prepare a Realistic, Effective & Efficient Energy Strategy/policy.

If we can systematically plan & can conduct the Energy Audit through 3rd party Certified & Competent Energy Auditor & ensure continuous Improvement/remediation, it will help to achieve Energy Efficiency. Need for the employment of Energy Manager for its review & sustainability. It may draw some investment of with a payback period of 1.5-2 years for Audit, fixation of EGB, Servo motor, VFD, VSD, Inverter, Insulation, all types of Traps & LED & other appliances, etc for remediation. It will help us to achieve “ENERGY EFFICIENCY” & enhance the Company’s reputation to Brand / Buyers allow us to increase Order Volume as the Brand value it. Finally, RMG/APPAREL  Industries will achieve significant( 10-25%)Cost-cutting annually on total Energy Cost.

Writer: General Manager, Admin & Development, Palmal Group of Industries

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