Energy efficiency in pumps and pump systems is a topic I hear a lot about when visiting with various pump industry leaders during my travels across the U.S. For many who hear the words ‘energy efficiencies’ they often think about environmental conservatism and caretaking. While this is certainly always high on the minds of industrial companies, another extremely important sustainability aspect related to the subject of energy efficient pump systems is cost.
Energy usage equates to large dollars for every industrial organization and the proper management of energy use connects directly to each company’s ability to maximize profitability in business. Throughout my career I’ve heard the term ‘sustainability’ spoken so often it’s been ingrained in my mind like my own first name. But what does sustainability really mean?
I spoke with a few pump industry experts to get a better idea of what the concept of sustainability means to them. Depending on the role of each person within an organization, the individual person often has a different first thought when the term sustainability is mentioned in conversation.
One reason for this, I believe, is due to the many different aspects that are actually involved in achieving sustainability within an organization or enterprise. The Merriam Webster Dictionary definition of sustainable is: “involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources.” Given that definition itself, it’s easy to see the connection between sustainability and pump energy efficiencies because I know when I think of natural resources, the first thing that comes to my mind is environmental concerns.
However, taking this concept of sustainability a step further, we start to think in terms of resources in general. Even the term ‘natural resource’ could be expanded to mean many different things in the pump industry. But if we just narrow it down to the word ‘resource’ itself, then we get a more holistic perspective of the over-reaching subject of sustainability and sustainability as it relates to ensuring the pump systems you use for each application are the most energy efficient choice.
How do energy efficient pump systems make your operations more sustainable?
Energy efficient pump systems do not cause any unnecessary strain on the system and they can also be considered to be what would be called more ‘optimally performing pumps.’ Otherwise stated, the most effective pump systems are the ones best suited to the specific environment to achieve optimum performance. The reduction of excess energy use can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings to a company’s operational costs over the course of time. Depending on the extremity of the energy savings, this can mean a large dollar amount that can be funneled elsewhere in the business either over the course of a shorter, or a longer period of time.
As every professional knows, companies who are most successful and that have the best chances of a longer industrial business lifespan are the ones where budgets are monitored closely. Saving money through the use of energy efficient pump systems promotes sustainability not only of that which you may think of as natural resources, but also sustainability as it relates to an organization’s ability to stay in business from generation to generation due to the avoidance of financial waste from the use of pump systems that are not energy efficient.
How to achieve energy efficiency in pumping technology
I found a very thorough article covering the topic of energy efficiency in pumping technology written by Thomas Stone at Blackmer, a member of Dover Corporation’s Pump Solutions Group. In his ‘technical paper’ (e.g. white paper) he describes the absolute importance of making sure the pumping technology is a truly perfect fit for the environment.
He mentions that many facility managers often make the wrong choice when deciding which pumping system to purchase and install because of the age old misconception that ‘bigger is better.’ When it comes to pumping technology, just having a bigger pump does not mean that you’ll get so much added power that it will compensate for the cost related to energy waste.
Pumps that are oversized are even more at risk of the dangers involved with wear and erosion and in turn leakage and operational issues occur at a faster pace. This can create a cost waste not only in energy overspending, but also in having to purchase more of the pumps themselves; not to mention the additional cost in time choosing new pumps to purchase, man-hours involved in the purchasing process, and man-hours involved in installation of the pumps and any related and/or affected system parts.
It can often be very confusing for plant managers and others involved in the pumping system purchasing decisions because there are many different pumps that might technically speaking ‘do the job.’ However, only a select few will actually ‘do the job’ in a sustainable fashion and be in the company’s best interest to purchase and install.
Learning what the best types of pumping systems are to meet each individual need is one of the many reasons we at EmpoweringPumps.com work hard to maintain and grow our online pump industry community, enabling pump professionals with an easier way to learn and communicate, sharing their knowledge with one another and helping all to locate the best resources both in terms of knowledge sharing and best practice identification with much greater ease!
When you are thinking about pump energy efficiency issues, just remember the bottom line: The best pumping technology is only the best so far as it matches the precise needs of the environment it is going to be used within. Keeping this in mind you will have the help you need to improve and assure the successful sustainability of your organization.
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