Energy efficiency efforts that save more than $200,000 per year in energy costs and nearly 10 billion British thermal units, compared to a 2012 baseline, have earned TE Connectivity recognition by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Better Buildings, Better Plants program. The 254,000-square-foot plant in Lickdale, PA employs 500 people and manufactures electrical connectors and contacts used in many applications, primarily household appliances.
TE Connectivity first joined DOE’s Better Plants Challenge in 2009 and met its initial energy reduction goal in 2013. The company then set another goal of reducing energy intensity by 25% by 2022, which was met this past year. The manufacturer has committed 66 U.S.-based facilities, including the Lickdale plant, to the Better Plants Challenge and has hosted more than 100 “treasure hunts” in plants to engage operators and employees in finding energy efficiency opportunities.
At its Lickdale plant, the manufacturing processes rely heavily on compressed air systems, which account for a significant amount of the company’s energy footprint and are a high priority for energy performance improvements. Prior to the efficiency improvements, the plant’s compressed air system was served by eight 200-horsepower compressors that operated all the time at full capacity. The company partnered with its compressor vendor to evaluate the plant’s compressed air system and identify opportunities for energy savings and improved system reliability. The team implemented a five-phase showcase project to upgrade its compressor controls package, replace worn compressors, reduce excess compressed air demand, and establish a system of continuous improvement through metering.
By the end of the project, the plant was able to lower compressed air energy costs by 11% and cut the number of necessary compressors nearly in half. The updated systems are also safer for plant operators and more reliable, reducing the need to rent replacement compressors at significant cost. By activating only the compressors that are needed at any given time, the plant now keeps several compressors as back-up units and has reduced their maintenance costs as well.
Through the Better Buildings Initiative, DOE partners with public and private sector organizations to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings more efficient, thereby saving energy and money while creating thousands of jobs. To date, more than 900 Better Buildings Partners have shared their innovative approaches and strategies for adopting energy efficient technologies.
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