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Thermal Energy: Which Companies Are Making The Switch and Why

Thermal energy systems are an underutilized commercial technology for conserving energy. When industrial and commercial buildings use such systems it is usually to recover waste heat energy from boiler exhaust or from industrial equipment and use it as heat for other processes.

Energy-Consumption Savings

Quantifying the energy savings is the biggest factor in selling such systems. Thermal Energy International Inc. of Ottawa claims its products can recover 80% of energy lost in typical boiler plant and steam system operations. Wherever steam is used for process heating, plant heating and office space heating, the permanent energy savings associated with improved use of waste heat can be 10% to 35%.

Environmental Bonuses

For industries that still rely on traditional energy, thermal energy systems are a step toward reducing oil and gas emissions. Kruger Products and other pulp and paper mills run coater machines, paper machines and heaters. Waste heat energy from these operations is usually exhausted to the atmosphere. A heat recovery solution (from Thermal Energy) on two paper machines can reduce consumption of fossil fuel at a mill by 20% and might even end a mill’s reliance on fuel oil altogether, with a commensurate reduction in greenhouse gases and emissions.
Productivity Improvements

Industrial customers want to know about productivity improvement along with energy savings. Food/beverage manufacturers like Kraft Foods operate boilers, dryers, process evaporators, incinerators, co-generators—all of which produce exhaust gas that can be recovered and recycled as energy for other productive uses, such as process water heating, fresh air preheating and/or ventilation air heating. Thermal energy recycling then increases production efficiency.

Design/Build for Sustainability

Multi-tenant buildings also have large electric and thermal energy needs. Recycling excess heat is a good choice for builders, Calgary roofers, and contractors of retail or office space designed for sustainability. According to Great Canadian, energy-saving systems in general, from solar panels to skylights, are often part of the roof assembly in commercial flat roofing installations and may qualify for incentives from local utilities. Property management owners care about ROI, so from a leasing perspective, it makes senses if they can tell occupants paying top dollar per square foot that their energy costs will be less expensive because a thermal energy system is installed.

Thermal energy can also be converted to electricity or cooling. So, in addition to the ample opportunities presented here, for industrial and commercial businesses, there may be other significant benefits that warrant consideration.

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