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Chicago Heights Steel

Compressed Air Study and Optimization
Project Photo
PROJECT SNAPSHOT: Chicago Heights Steel
Project cost $240,139
Estimated annual energy savings 2,582,979 kWh
Estimated annual cost savings $193,723*
Incentive received $177,714
Estimated payback period without incentives 1.1 years
Estimated payback period with incentives 3 months

*Estimated annual cost savings are based on an electricity rate of 7.5 cents per kWh.

The Opportunity

The Illinois-based steel distributor has been around for nearly 100 years, and has heard many pitches from companies on ways to cut costs and save energy. But what drew them to the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program was an offer to identify air leaks. This then led to other opportunities to earn incentives and lower energy cost.

The Project

It all started with compressed air leaks. ComEd performed an air leak study in the facility, which led to an eye-opening discovery that by not adequately monitoring and controlling their compressed air systems, the facility was consuming more energy than needed. These systems often ran constantly, even after everyone but the maintenance staff had left for the day. To fix this, the company had three of their old compressors replaced with a new, more energy efficient compressor system that allows full control (even remotely) while only supplying as much compressed air as needed. They also repaired all air leaks, replaced two desiccant dryers with cycling dryers and installed new piping and dry storage.

In the end, it led to bigger energy savings than they ever expected.

The Savings

Chicago Heights Steel received ComEd incentives totaling $177,714 and is estimated to save $193,723 and 2.5 million kWh a year. This put the project payback period at just three months (without incentives it would’ve taken over a year).

Additional Benefits

The project also boosted safety in their facility and led to employee training on how to look for and prevent further air leaks—which has already led to people closing valves when they don’t need to be open and mentioning air leaks during regular facility maintenance. This was just a start to the culture change the facility was looking for—to make a lasting commitment toward energy efficiency.

The project will save Chicago Heights Steel time, money and energy for years, making it worth the investment.

The company had three of their old compressors replaced with a new, more energy efficient compressor system that allows full control (even remotely) while only supplying as much compressed air as needed.
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