* This article was featured in the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association’s 2023 Q1 Retailer Magazine.
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Energy efficiency is vital to Iowa’s energy management plan and it reduces the amount of energy consumed. For a business, that means a decrease in energy generated environmental impact and a significant reduction in business energy costs.
As energy demands continue to increase, businesses, both large and small, need to take action yesterday to reduce their energy consumption and look for energy-efficient solutions. The Iowa Waste Reduction Center’s (IWRC) Iowa Energy Efficiency Program for Rural Small Businesses is designed to assist small businesses seeking to reduce their energy consumption and improve their bottom line.
In August 2022, Bodensteiner Implement Company took advantage of the IWRC’s free energy assessment to identify steps their facilities could take to reduce their energy consumption.
Bodensteiner Implement Co. is a family-owned corporation founded in 1982. The company operates 10 John Deere retail locations serving 12 neighboring counties in Northeast Iowa.
Upon contacting the IWRC, Associate Director Dan Nickey worked with facility managers at each location to schedule their assessment. The assessment took anywhere from one to one and a half hours, requiring a maximum of five minutes of the facility manager’s time to show Dan around the facility.
A typical energy assessment evaluates a facility’s compressed air, lighting, and building envelope. The compressed air audit identifies any leaks in the compressor itself and any hoses using an ultrasonic leak detector. When a leak is found, Dan tags it noting the leak number and leak size(db).
The lighting assessment simply identifies if a facility is using LED light bulbs. If they’re not, then savings are projected based on switching to LED lighting.
Finally, the building envelope assessment is done through thermal imaging and is applicable for businesses who use heating and cooling to detect energy loss, such as through unsealed doors or windows.
“Implement dealers are an ideal candidate for these free energy assessments,” says Dan Nickey. “The evaluation doesn’t take long and more importantly, doesn’t require a large commitment from the facility’s manager.”
After the completion of the assessment, the results, recommendations and estimated cost savings were compiled into a report and sent to Bodensteiner approximately three weeks post assessment.
Of the 10 Bodensteiner Implement Co. locations, two received the lighting assessment. It was recommended that by switching to LED lighting at these two locations, Bodensteiner Implement Co. could save $2,325 annually. The remaining eight locations already had LED lighting systems in place.
All 10 locations underwent a compressed air assessment. Dan worked through the entire compressed air system to identify leaks, broken equipment, and make general maintenance and usage recommendations. At one location, he identified a significant leak when walking by a workbench and felt high pressure air blowing on his leg. The leak from this hose alone cost the company $1,415 annually. The smallest compressed air leak found cost the company $75 annually.
In total, 73 leaks were found and Bodensteiner Implement Co. was projected to save $39,168 annually by fixing all compressed air leaks and switching the two locations to LED lighting. In addition, the company could reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 585,579 lbs of carbon dioxide (CO2), 981 lbs of nitric oxide (NO), and 2,018 lbs of sulfur dioxide (SO2) if all recommendations are followed.
As the Bodensteiner Implement Co. example demonstrated, there can be substantial monetary benefits to contacting the IWRC to get an energy assessment for your Iowa small business.
For starters, thanks to a grant from the Iowa Energy Office, the assessment is conducted at no cost to businesses employing less than 100 people per facility in Iowa. The ultimate goal is to see Iowa reduce its energy consumption by making Iowa small businesses more energy efficient.
Many times the issues identified require small fixes like replacing a hose or tightening a coupling. However, the smaller the leak the more difficult it is to identify. It is important to have a professional who has the tools and expertise to complete an energy assessment so those small issues don’t add up and grow in size.
In the four years that the IWRC has been conducting free energy assessments, a small business has been able to see a 10% reduction in energy consumption resulting in an average savings of $3,400 per year. For Bodensteiner Implement Co. they now have the opportunity to save thousands in yearly energy costs and decrease their negative environmental impact.
To allow a business to reflect on and implement any recommendations, an evaluation is sent about five weeks after the assessment report. The evaluation is an opportunity for the business to provide feedback on the assessment and report any action they took to realize their energy cost savings.
On occasion, an energy assessment reveals no leaks. However, there is still value when no leaks are found. The business can be reassured that their contractors and maintenance engineer installed and are maintaining the equipment properly.
4. HOW TO SCHEDULE AN ENERGY ASSESSMENT
With rising energy costs and significant strain on the power grid, you owe it to your business to contact the IWRC and schedule your FREE energy assessment. Simply contact Dan Nickey via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (319) 273-6588, or through the IWRC website.