September 2017

How Can Better Asset Management Reduce Costs For Your Business?

Businesses today are subject to ever-increasing operating costs, unpredictable demand and often volatile margins. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the manufacturing and production sectors in Australia. Australia’s high wages and operating costs make it one of the most difficult markets to operate in. For businesses looking to control, and even reduce their costs, there are a number of options available. Asset management is one area in which businesses can invest, in order to see long-term returns and stabilise their operating costs into the future.

What does asset management mean?

Every business is invested in assets to a varying degree. From infrastructure, to intellectual property, and even financial investments, assets help a business to operate. Making the most of these assets, and realising optimal potential from them can mean the difference between success and failure. One area in which many businesses fail to realise the full value of their resources is in physical assets such as treatment facilities, HVAC systems, waste management & disposal, and energy consumption & generation. Smart Business Hub solutions providers offer their clients a range of alternatives to improve the performance, efficiency and life expectancy of assets with simple, turn-key solutions such as:

  • Waste water management and heat recovery,
  • HVAC upgrades, maintenance and protection solutions
  • Combined heat and power generation and energy recovery,
  • Water flow asset management and monitoring,
  • Cogeneration and trigeneration systems,
  • Biogas generation and recovery systems,
  • Solar power systems,
  • Measuring, monitoring and ESC creation and more.

Upgrading existing assets

Upgrading and overhauling assets such as HVAC or power generation systems can seem overwhelmingly expensive to businesses, and can result in an unwillingness to invest in newer technologies. Little do many businesses realise the incredible effect, on both cost and productivity, that simple upgrades can make to their operations. Many of the Smart Business Hub case studies highlight the real savings achieved by some of our solutions providers for their clients, and the potential to other businesses. The upgrading and maintenance of existing assets such as HVAC systems can result in staggering cost savings, and reductions in emissions. A fantastic example of this is the 11.8% energy savings achieved by Carnes Hill Shopping Centre after their HVAC protective coating solution was provided by Energy Solutions. This project is expected to achieve returns on the investment within 15 months, and extend the life of their HVAC system by 5 – 7 years.

Cogeneration/Trigeneration Systems

Electricity generation is slowly but steadily moving away from finite resources such as coal, and towards renewable energy solutions like solar, wind, water and biogas. Cogeneration and trigeneration systems make use of waste products such as bio-waste, heat waste and water waste, to generate electricity, heating and even cooling. These solutions have the potential to save businesses tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs per year, and offset huge quantities of emissions such as methane and CO2. As businesses are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of their operations, the ability to put their waste to good use, and harness renewable energy is both a business-savvy and a socially responsible move.
Solutions providers such as Evo Energy Technologies are helping Australian businesses to do just that, with cogeneration systems such as that installed at the Cardinia Life recreation facility in Victoria. Before the installation of their cogeneration system, the facility was responsible for a whopping 26% of the district’s emissions – at over 2,600 tonnes per annum. The installation of a Miraclegen MC247N-SC CHP (combined heat and power) unit by Evo saw the centre save over $110,000 in energy costs and reduce their emissions by 1,224 tonnes per year (or 46%).

Waste management and heat recovery

Waste disposal and management can be an incredible burden on businesses due to the costs involved. Finding ways to moderate waste product, and even generate an income from it, which can be directed back into the operating budget for manufacturers and producers is key to managing this issue.  Innovative solutions providers like Finn Biogas have helped clients around the world better manage their waste products, in order to generate energy, reduce emissions and drastically diminish operating expenses.
For Sustratos De La Ribera, a joint venture of Costa Rica’s two largest slaughterhouses, biogas represented an until now, missed opportunity to reduce both costs and waste. Previously, their plants had failed to utilise their waste to the firm’s benefit. Finn Biogas with their German partners, AD Solutions helped Sustratos to develop and install a biogas plant which would make use of their meat production waste, in order to generate power for the plant. At a cost of €3 million, the investment was not insignificant. However, for an operation of this size, the 70% reduction in bunker oil consumption and subsequent reduction in market exposure was well worthwhile. Finn Biogas’ Australasian team provide scalable solutions for businesses large and small, which see results like these possible for Australian producers and manufacturers.  

Measuring, monitoring and government incentives

Effective asset management is folly without the introduction of proper monitoring and measuring protocols – many of which are beyond the capabilities of Australian businesses. When factoring in the cost of upgrades and systems designed to reduce energy consumption, emissions and waste, paired with the added burden of measurement and monitoring, the introduction of such solutions as those provided by Smart Business Hub’s partners can seem unachievable. However, thanks to the likes of the Energy Savings Scheme’s Energy Savings Certificates (ESCs) introduced by the NSW government, businesses can take advantage of financial incentives which aim to offset the cost of these solutions. Firms like Energy Conservation, an accredited certificate provider, can assist businesses by working alongside equipment and service providers to install, measure and monitor energy savings solutions, in order to award ESC certificates.
The Art Gallery of NSW, for example, recently received over $100,000 in funding after the creation of more than 12,000 ESCs with the help of Energy Conservation. As a result, the gallery was able to complete a chiller upgrade which resulted in $140,000p/a in energy savings and a 1,200-tonne reduction in emissions each year.
To see how Smart Business Hub members are helping more businesses to better manage their assets, visit our solution providers’ page, or contact us for more information. 

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