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Top 8 Central Energy Plant Costs and Risks – and How to Minimize Them

What’s costing you so much in your central energy plant, and can you bring those costs down? We’ve compiled a list of the top eight costs and risks associated with CEPs, and the best ways to save your organization money – and headaches.

1. Useful Life of Equipment. The greatest way to minimize lifetime costs of a CEP is by deferring equipment replacement. Poorly maintained equipment usually only survives about 60 to 75 percent of its intended life: about 12 years of an expected 20-year life.

Save: Meticulously maintained equipment can last well beyond its life expectancy, saving you millions. Win-Sam has extended equipment life in excess of 40 years without degrading efficiency.

2. Utility Prices and Plant Efficiency. The greatest operating cost associated with CEP operation – and the next greatest opportunity to save – is the cost of utilities. But of course you can’t manage the price of those utilities, so how do you manage the cost?

Save: Constantly optimizing equipment configuration and performing preventative maintenance will keep efficiency at its highest, which reduces the quantity of utilities consumed – and saves on the overall cost.

3. Labor Acquisition, Development and Scheduling. Labor is the cornerstone of successful plant operations. Substandard plant personnel will cause plant efficiency to suffer, dramatically increasing lifetime costs to you. Over-hiring, allowing unnecessary overtime, or just failing to build a strong team can all add on to costs.

Save: Going the extra mile up front will save you time and money in the long run: for instance, creating a system of orientation, training, evaluation, recognition and compensation to build an efficient, motivated team. And a CEP management expert like Win-Sam can help you predict the amount of time and labor needed for tasks.

4. Water Treatment. No act performed in the CEP is more important to long-term success than maintaining good water chemistry. When scale gets a foothold in the equipment, or when scale removal techniques damage the equipment, efficiency plummets.

Save: A joint undertaking between the chemical company and the plant personnel allows water chemistry to be tested – and, in turn, maintained – several times per day; not just monthly when the chemical company visits the facility.

5. Repair and Maintenance. Many plants advocate good maintenance practices, but neglect to implement them, and their preventive maintenance practices may be non-existent.

Save: Maintenance should be proactive, not reactive: that allows you to predict and prevent problems. It may have only small immediate benefits, but the long-term benefits are huge.

6. Environmental Compliance. A CEP is subject to many environmental regulations that are constantly changing. Lack of familiarity with these regulations can lead to embarrassing public relations events and significant sanctions from regulatory authorities.

Save: It can be difficult keeping up with these regulations, but a partner like Win-Sam, with facilities throughout the country, is uniquely able to stay abreast of environmental issues and remain prepared for changes.

7. Public Relations. Although a good CEP owner will strive to be a good neighbor, many factors can create negative public relations events. Weather conditions can cause cooling towers to emit plumes, there may be noise generated by the equipment, or there may be emissions or spills due to equipment malfunctions or inadequate responses from the team. And the media keeps a sharp focus on the higher education and healthcare communities.

Save: Your proactive attitude should extend to building a culture of environmental awareness; make it a priority to be good stewards in the community.

8. Reliability. The single non-negotiable criteria for CEP success is reliability of service, particularly in meeting the stringent Environment of Care standards for medical facilities, and similar standards for educational and research facilities.

Save: A responsible CEP commits to “N+1” redundancy, which ensures the CEP can serve the maximum load even if the largest capacity machine is off-line. Win-Sam doesn’t tolerate any circumstance resulting in less than “N+1” redundancy, not even for a few hours.

These are all issues Win-Sam has dealt with daily, at facilities throughout the country, for decades. Ultimately, we’ve learned that a commitment to a Predict, Prevent, Extend methodology makes the difference in every aspect of CEP management. And we’d love to make that difference for you.

Give us a call. Let us show you how much we can save you.

We have a unique services solution that adds true value to our customers. This results in long-term relationships built on true, measurable outcomes.”

Rodger Commers, Current Plant Manager, Win-Sam Employee since 1975

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