St Marys Cement – Reaping the Rewards from Participating in Certification in Energy Excellence Program
By 360 Energy
Submitted by 360 Energy
October 21, 2011 - St. Marys Cement is a leading manufacturer of cement and related construction products. The company supplies cementitious materials to the Great Lakes Region and is a significant producer of concrete and aggregates to the Ontario market.
By 360 Energy
St Marys Cement in Bowmanville is the largest cement plant in Canada, currently capable of producing 1.8 million tonnes of clinker per year. With an operating schedule of 24 hours per day and 7 days per week, the plant consumes a massive amount of energy. As a result, energy usage is a large expense for the plant, and one that has become the focus of everyone at the organization. To help reduce energy costs and energy waste and in order to help protect the environment, the managers at the Bowmanville plant have committed to developing and sustaining a culture of organizational energy excellence.
The plant began focusing on energy management in 2005, starting what would become a long-term commitment to improvement. Fabio Garcia, the plant operations manager, encouraged members of the organization to find ways of reducing energy consumption and reducing associated costs. In 2006, the site created an integrated energy management team, the Energy Management Conservation Committee, also known as E=MC². The team drew members from multiple departments including Finance, HR, Environmental, Quality Control and Production, and encouraged them to work together to discover technical and procedural solutions that would work best for the plant.
Through Fabio’s leadership and the efforts of E=MC², the Bowmanville plant achieved substantial savings through improved energy efficiency and cost efficiency with little or no capital. As a way to verify their savings and ensure that energy management didn’t become the “Flavour of the Month”, St. Marys pursued the newly-developed Certification of Energy Excellence (CEE) program. Independent energy professionals with a proven history of assessing energy excellence were given access to over 160 areas of the plant to evaluate equipment and procedures.
To participate and be successful in the CEE process, St Marys had to have at least three years of ongoing energy management activity with demonstrable action and energy savings. They also needed an infrastructure and a plan in place to continue with energy performance activity for the next three years.
“This was exactly what we needed: a process proven internationally, that used outside energy experts who could assess and confirm our past activity, but also provide mentoring on how we could continue our ongoing energy performance improvements,” said Jim Storey, the co-leader of E=MC².
Through activity within the organization, 360 Energy’s coaching and a commitment to continuous improvement, St Marys was rewarded with a Silver-level Certification in Energy Excellence. However, the company’s work did not end once it received certification. Organizations need to undergo a re-evaluation every three years to maintain their claim to certification, and St Marys has continued to pursue energy excellence with this goal in mind.
As a result of all the effort that has gone into managing energy, St Marys has reduced electrical consumption by over 9.5 million kilowatt-hours and avoided energy costs worth over $2 million since 2006. Louis Kaye, the plant accountant, suggests the plant is intensifying their efforts in 2011, and expects over 1 million dollars in savings in one year alone.
Jim Storey acknowledges the re-certification process requires St Marys’ team to become more aware and knowledgeable every year on changing energy issues. This helps keep them focused and unified in pursuing energy cost reduction without negatively impacting production capabilities.
Brian MacDonald, the production manager, is also on the team, and says his production team is committed to energy management. His team of operators monitors the plant peak load and the Ontario Hourly Electricity Pricing, and schedules maintenance downtime at periods of high electricity pricing or periods of peak demand. Recent changes include work on demand response (DR), including a switch from DR1 to DR3. The plant, which pays their Global Adjustment costs based on their coincident peak demand, is attempting to reduce their demand over the course of the year in an effort to reduce these significant costs.
Through the willingness and desire of plant management and the team to create a culture of sustainability, St Marys managed to realize significant savings and become the first industrial plant to become a recipient of a Certificate in Energy Excellence in 2008. St Marys is currently working toward its recertification, which it hopes to receive in 2012.