Finding Big Gas Savings


With low natural gas prices, it can be challenging to implement thermal efficiency measures. But as the electric grid becomes greener, the focus on fuel use will grow in order to continue carbon reductions. As an energy efficiency incentive program, we identify gas savings for industrial sites. Then we pay an incentive for projects that move forward which provides us with the actual cost and savings. The areas to find savings fall into four buckets: 1. Upgrading when buying new equipment. Retrofitting efficiency measures can be costly, When the base equipment and installation must be acquired anyway, it is often attractive to pay a premium to increase the energy efficiency. Examples include higher efficiency boilers and RTOs. 2. Heat Recovery. Waste heat recovery can provide significant savings, and the key is to matching heat sources to uses. Examples include air compressor heat recovery, waste water heat recovery, and even direct water reuse. 3. Ventilation and Building Controls (space heating). Uncontrolled or excess exhaust flows can drive up space heating demands when all the warm exhaust air gets replaced with cold outdoor air. A building automation system (BAS) can be used to control fans, zone temperatures, and setback temperatures to provide significant savings. 4. Maintenance. Poor practices can lead to excess energy use which can be significant. Examples include steam traps that are failed open, burner tuning, and insulation.

Jerry Zolkowski, PE, CEM, CMVP

Principal Engineer

DNV GL/Consumers Energy Program

Jerry Zolkowski, PE CEM CMVP is a Principal Engineer with DNV GL. Since 2013 he has been working on the Consumers Business Energy Efficiency Program in Michigan with a focus on making industrial plants more efficient. He can be contacted at: Prior employment includes: 2.5 years at Dow Corning, the world leader in silicones, supporting global manufacturing energy efficiency efforts; and 6 years finding and evaluating energy conservation opportunities for Shaw Industries’ manufacturing operations. Shaw has over 50 manufacturing plants and is the country’s largest carpet producer. Also 10 years at the state’s industrial extension service at Georgia Tech. That work included energy conservation, environmental compliance, and plant & design engineering. Jerry’s writings have appeared in Compressed Air Best Practices, Strategic Planning for Energy and the Environment, Energy Engineering, Computer Shopper, and Machine Design. Education includes a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester and an MBA from Columbus State College.