Description of Initiative:
The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Division of Air Quality (DAQ) received a grant from U.S. EPA in April 2011 that funded a multi-year project to assist North Carolina facilities with increasing the efficiency of their operations while saving money and reducing air pollution. The project goals include:
- Educating facilities about the interdependency between energy consumption, air emissions, and energy costs;
- Encouraging facilities to voluntarily implement energy-efficiency measures that reduce air emissions, have low pay back periods, and reduce operating costs; and
- Educating and assisting facilities with multi-pollutant air emission calculations, and specifically clarifying the requirements of the new U.S. EPA Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule.
To accomplish its goals, the DAQ partnered with organizations which have highly qualified teams that conduct both on-site energy assessments and energy efficiency workshops. These organizations are North Carolina State University’s Mechanical Engineering Department and Waste Reduction Partners, a group of retired engineers who provide their expert services to help North Carolina businesses. This unique collaboration between a state agency, educational institute, and the private sector created an effective program that identifies win-win solutions for the environment and the economy.
Results to Date:
The most successful part of the grant has been the 75 energy assessments conducted primarily at manufacturing facilities in North Carolina. More than 40 of these facilities were subject to new U.S. EPA air quality rules for industrial and institutional boilers requiring an energy assessment. In an energy assessment, a trained engineer evaluates the energy consumption for the buildings and process equipment and offers recommendations on how to lower electricity and fuel use in the facility. For each recommendation, the capital cost, cost savings, and payback period are estimated along with decreases in air pollution emissions. The facility uses this detailed information to help determine in which projects it should invest. The final phase of an assessment consists of a follow-up phone call approximately one year following an assessment to discuss which recommendations were implemented by the facility. The DAQ prepared case study reports for other facilities using the results of these assessments in order to help them achieve additional energy and air pollution savings.
The DAQ also sponsored approximately ten workshops on how to reduce energy use, operating costs, and air emissions for common industrial equipment types. A notable series of three workshops was conducted at furniture manufacturers on wood-fired steam boilers. These boilers are difficult to operate properly and the workshops allowed boiler operators to see first-hand how different operating conditions impact the boiler efficiency and air emissions.
Direct contact with facility personnel and the establishment of concrete goals for energy reduction are effective tools for achieving voluntary reductions in air pollution. The table below presents the potential energy and costs savings and corresponding air pollution reductions from the 75 assessments. The reported implementation rate to date is 50%. This high implementation rate shows both the effectiveness of the outreach program as well as the growing importance of energy efficiency in the business community.
|Type of Recommendation||Number of Rec.||Total Cost Savings ($/yr)||Average Capital Cost ($)||Average Payback (Months)||Energy Reductions||Air Pollution Reductions|
|Electricity (MWh)||Fuel Use (MMBtu)||NOX (ton/yr)||SO2 (ton/yr)||CO2 (ton/yr)|
|Boilers||Stack Loss & Heat Rec.||37||$905,000||$7,000||21||42||440,000||50||24||34,000|
|General – Electric||25||$280,000||$3,000||3|
|Other||Building Envelope||5||$40,000||$7,000||9||24,000||-35,000 *||18||52||8,000|
|Combined heat & power||4||$190,000||$112,000||49|
Sushma Masemore, P.E.
Chief, Planning Section, Division of Air Quality
North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources