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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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How auto dealers save money and energy?

My father-in-law is into auto dealership business. He wants to focus on areas of energy use. He wants effective opportunities to minimize costs. I'm ask to monitor specific areas like compressors, lighting, hvac and other services but he also wants to maintain quality and customers satisfaction. With it, what is exactly the best way to do when energy saving is our top concern? Do you have any projects or solutions in mind? Please let us know.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 12:38 PM
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Making compressed Air is very expensive. Keep all Air tools well lubricated and fix any air leaks quickly, fix any quick connects that leak, use only matching connectors. Use LED lighting where ever possible

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 04:19 PM
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There are some really good LED lights out there now. What kind of fixtures do you have in the shop?


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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 09:13 PM
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Usually, saving energy costs money. At least up front. Even LED lighting takes a while to pay back the initial costs in energy savings. They are getting less expensive, and there are tubes available to directly replace 4' fluorescent tubes in existing fixtures.
If you have a fixed air piping system from your air compressor, the first thing to do is be sure there are no leaks and the piping isn't full of rust from condensation. If a tool at the end of the line is struggling that might be an indication and the quick fix is to boost the compressor pressure to offset the losses. If you intend to replace the air piping, going a size bigger than normal will reduce pressure losses in the piping when you've got multiple tools pulling air. That would allow you to set the tank pressure slightly lower and still have enough at the end of the line to run the tools. The higher the tank pressure, the harder and longer the compressor has to work.
As far as HVAC, I would recommend hiring a professional Mechanical Engineer look the system over for you and make some recommendations. It's pretty much impossible to suggest energy saving measures over the internet. One no-brainer though on HVAC is to make sure the motors driving the fans are the highest efficiency available, but see my first statement on that as well.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 07:56 AM
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They are getting less expensive, and there are tubes available to directly replace 4' fluorescent tubes in existing fixtures.
I just installed 32 of them in our basement and garage, got tired of fighting the fluorescent tubes and ballasts. The LED tubes are really great, can't say enough good about them. Very bright too.
The last truck shop I worked in had heated concrete floors which was really nice when laying under a truck, even your tools are warm. In later years as portions of the floor heat failed some engineer genius had them install the overhead infra-red radiant heat which is absolutely worthless. The only warm area is directly under the "beam" of the small radiant area, step two feet away and you freeze. They don't warm the nearby air or anything else. Quite a few shops have gone to burning used engine oil which works well if you have the volume of used oil. The overhead gas fired heaters that blow hot air work well too.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 09:40 AM
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I Know at my dad's dealership we had the lot lights set on timers. Basically after hours the lot lights would stay on until about 10:30PM then come back on around 5AM and of course off during daylight. The thought process was there was not a significant amount of traffic by the lot between the hours of 10PM and 5AM thus no need for the lights to be on. That said we had a couple lights stay on for security purpose and our lot also had a fence around it. Setting the lights to be on a timer should be relatively cheap ( a $45 control box) and easy as they are typically controlled from a central switch box.

The air tools tip is a good one. Another cheap trick for that too is to simply disconnect the lines from the compressor at the end of the day thus the only leak point is the compressor itself.

It is also good practice to disconnect tools and such in general for a number of reasons.
1. unplugged tools don't draw "stasis" current
2. In the event of a power surge or lightning strike they don't get fried
3. Encourages employees to clean up their area as they put tools away
4. Makes employees look over cables and such as they plug them in, thus providing an opportunity to identify frayed wires or other hazardous/maintenance issues.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 09:50 AM
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The air tools tip is a good one. Another cheap trick for that too is to simply disconnect the lines from the compressor at the end of the day thus the only leak point is the compressor itself.
One of us was assigned to shut off the compressor at the end of the day and open the bottom tank drain and leave it open overnight. Heavily used compressors collect a lot of water during the day. It must be way more in the humid states back east.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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Why do I have the feeling that energy conservation measures requires much more time and funding? Am I wrong to think that way? I say time because there are instances that my FIL have to repeat himself over and over again when it comes to these kinds of instructions. Anyway, since business is not as good as before, he would want to take this time to minimize cost in whatever aspect it may be. Sometimes, his ideas seems not workable so I volunteered to see how things should be done in the most cost efficient way possible.

I just think that info online is limited because whenever I do my research, it directs me to residential or commercial energy management projects. Is there any website (aside from forums) that can you recommend?
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-27-2017, 03:40 AM
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The electric utility I retired from has an Energy Conservation Department that will come out when requested and perform an energy audit. They can give you tips on how to save energy and may even have programs that will help defray some of the upfront costs for the improvements. You might check to see if your local electric utility company offers this service.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 07:12 AM
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While this is an old thread, ill add this. LED bulbs are much cheaper now. Never buy a incandescent bulb again. As the old bulbs blow replace them with LEDs, they give off at least the same amount of light(typically better), use much less power, last a lot longer and typically give off less heat which should help cooling bill. They even have florescent light bulb LED replacements now(everyone hates florescent anyways).

Also check your heating and cooling system. Make sure it is working efficiently (mainly clean filters). Also if it does not already have close-able and aim-able grate/vents on the outlets install them, about $17 a piece. With these you can aim the AC where you want it and cut off areas that are not in use. Thus the AC doesn't have to run as much. Also Tinting building windows and putting drapes(covering) unused windows helps inside temperature significantly.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 08:08 AM
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I agree, I really like the LED lights. But what's your experience with their long life? I've had 3 burn out within only 5-6 months in 3 different light fixtures. They were a brand from Costco.

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 08:32 AM
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I'll take a stab at that one. I think the brand variability is huge, but most consumers have no way to tell what a good brand versus a bad brand is.

I bought a set of Polaroid LED bulbs for the kitchen. Polaroid's a good brand, right? Well, turns out they ran their company into the ground and now are "leasing" their name to hacks to put on different products. 4 out of 6 bulbs gone within a year and it took TWO YEARS to get a partial settlement from them. And I think they only did that to get me to stop calling them.

ThinkLux - I've got about a hundred of their 60 watt equivalent standard bulbs in service. None have quit yet

Feit - got 4 250 watt equivalent BR40s. I've had 1 that went out. I called the company, and had a new one on my doorstep the next day - drop shipped from Amazon.

Hyperikon- I've started replacing my tubes with this brand - haven't had them long enough to tell longevity, but had a question about polarity on direct wired bulbs and called customer service. Got a human within 15 seconds and he knew what he was talking about.

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 11:45 AM
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I started replacing bulbs as they blew with LEDs 3 or so years ago. I typically got whatever was on sale/cheapest that Lowes/ACE sold. To date I have yet to replace an LED. (now that I said that Ill probably have 5 out when i get home)

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Tru-Cool Trans Cooler
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TS Six Position Chip (stock,High Idle, +50, +75, +100, +120)
Tymar HPX line in hand but no installed yet
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ARE LSII Custom Color Tonneau bed cover
Color match Rhino spray in bed liner
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 11:57 AM
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The LED tubes I put in my garage fixtures are from Costco (made in China - I think they were the Feit brand that RT mentioned, but can't be positive, it just sounds familiar), and they've been in there for over a year with no problems. I'd say that most every brand is probably made in the same Chinese factory, so it's probably a crapshoot on brand name. We've put some LED tubes in at the office as well and other than the early manufacture ones that refused to light up in one fixture (probably an older ballast), they're still working. Those two we just put in another fixture, and the balky fixture works with current manufacture LED tubes.
The LED tubes seem to last longer than the older compact fluorescents designed to replace incandescent screw-in bulbs. I've had those pop on me in a short time. I also have used screw-in LED bulbs with good results.
The comment about maintenance of HVAC systems is an excellent suggestion. Air filters are cheap and when they're plugged, the system has to run longer to get the heating or cooling where it needs to be.

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Last edited by klhansen; 03-16-2018 at 12:01 PM.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-28-2018, 10:07 PM
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Lightbulb Air Commpressors

If you can run a "LOOP" system for your airlines this will keep the line pressure the same all the way around the shop.

No loss of pressure from site 1 and on. Regulators at ALL drops. will ensure EACH air tool will get the pressure it needs.

As stated prior, draining the tank or installing filters at each drop will help - as will inline oilers to keep tools lubricated.

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