Aug 21, 2017 | by Kathy Hudson
Calculate Your Cost Savings with an Energy Efficient Boiler
Modern technology has transformed commercial boilers, allowing companies to save between 20%-50% in energy costs. In December of 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy released a new energy efficiency standard for boilers.
Although the requirements don't go into full effect until 2019, many companies are making the switch now, simply because of the cost savings. Modern boilers also have the advantages of being quieter, offering better heating controls, and simply doing a better job.
How Boiler Efficiency is Measured
Boiler efficiency levels are measured in percentages — either percent thermal efficiency or percent combustion efficiency. The new standard requires that commercial boilers have an efficiency level of 81-88%. But many of the modern boilers offer 90% efficiency, or even higher. Contrast this with the 65% efficiency of the old style cast iron boilers of 20 years ago.
Calculate How Much You Would Save
The DOE estimates that the commercial boilers to be sold which meet the new standards will save between $0.5 to $2 billion in net savings for companies nationwide, depending on the individual interest rate.
How much could your company save? To calculate the cost effectiveness of upgrading your boiler, use the Federal Energy Management Program's Energy Cost Savings Calculator for Commercial Boilers.
Factors to Consider When Upgrading
There are a few things that you'll want to consider when upgrading your boiler, some of which will play into your cost savings. Here are the questions you'll want to answer.
Where will the boiler be located? The answer to this question will tell you what size the boiler should be and the fuel type needed, and could factor into whether you need a water or steam heating system. The location also may place weight limitations on your choice.
What will the boiler be used for? For heating alone, water boilers will be more efficient than steam — because they have lower combustion temperatures. Other applications, like sterilization and dehumidification, require high temperatures that only steam can provide.
Are you retrofitting, or is this a new installation? Replacing the a boiler with the same type (water with water, steam with steam) is almost always more cost effective. But occasionally it makes sense to retrofit a steam boiler to a water boiler, if the operating engineer or servicing crew isn't experienced with steam boilers and maintenance needs.
How many hours will the boiler run? High efficiency boilers do have higher up-front costs, so if the boiler won't run very often, you won't save as much. However, buying a used high-efficiency boiler will dramatically increase your savings.
If you're currently running an old boiler, it will almost always be a smart decision to upgrade. If you need guidance knowing which specific boiler would be best for your individual situation, feel free to give us a call at 864.249.0943.