Located in Ontario, California
50,000-sq.ft. manufacturing space
Annual Cash Savings: $20,000.00
Annual Energy savings: 333,889 kWh
Payback period: 3 years
Prevented 335,791 pounds of pollution
Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)
To successful businesses like Agricultural Products, Inc. (API), the significant savings that accompany an upgrade to energy-efficient technology are clear. With the help of The Gas Company, this Southern California manufacturer of plastic tubing, fittings, filters, and other accessories for agricultural irrigation cut its annual operating expenses by more than $20,000.
It all began when Roger Vance, the manufacturing manager at API, began considering gas-powered technology. “When I read about natural gas-fired chillers in a trade magazine, it was something I wanted to know more about,” recalls Vance. At the time, API had been using a 30-ton electric chiller to cool down its recently molded plastic from 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Vance approached Pam Brown, a regional account executive of The Gas Company, to find out his options. Among other benefits of gas-powered equipment, Vance discovered API would not need to pay initial permitting fees, yearly inspection fees, or catalytic converter costs for the relatively small engine. “Using gas equipment did not mean I would have to sacrifice efficiency,” says Vance. “Not only do we anticipate lower operating costs, we should increase our chiller capacity as well.” API expects its yearly energy bill to drop as much as $10,000, savings that will pay for the chiller in just 2 years.
The success of this initial project prompted API to call on The Gas Company a second time, as its success began to strain the productive capacity of its 40-horsepower electric compressor. “Pam Brown showed us that we could save almost $10,000 per year with the gas air compressor as well,” explains Vance. In addition to these financial incentives, API was pleased to discover that the new system could increase the facility’s air compression capacity by 25 percent. Vance recalls, “When I heard that, my decision was made.” API has been so pleased with the results that the company has continued to seek out ways to innovate further.
Vance contends, “Our electric extruder, the system that melts plastic pellets for the molding, is very expensive to operate. That’s because it takes a lot of energy to convert electricity to heat. I want to be one of the first people to help develop a gas-powered extruder. The potential savings for a system like that could be tremendous.”
Because the cost per British thermal unit of energy provided by gas is significantly less than for electricity, gas-fired equipment is cheaper to operate than electric equipment. In addition, the associated pollution created by the generation of electricity can be reduced by switching to gas-fired technologies.
Vance’s success in cutting energy costs proved that creative thinking pays. By researching nonconventional technologies, Vance learned that it made sense for his company to switch from electric to gas-fired equipment. Thanks to his efforts, Vance’s company is saving more than $20,000 per year in energy costs.