Are You Seeing The Full Picture Of Your Boilerhouse Efficiency?

Outside Spirax Sarco Boilerhouse

Darren Silverthorn, 13/09/2019

It can be difficult to see the light at the end of the efficiency tunnel when the view is clouded by carbon emission reduction targets, rising energy costs and steadily increasing operational costs. Finding your way out of the dark and into the light needn’t be a challenge. In my experience, there are a number of efficiency savings that businesses just like yours can make.

Seeing the full picture of what’s going on with your boilerhouse is just the first step in getting ahead and increasing operational efficiency.

The secret is out

It’s no secret that rising energy costs account for a sizable proportion of a business’s overheads. Energy losses from the boilerhouse in particular, can occur due to a wide range of factors and can be difficult to identify without the right tools. Such losses can end up being far higher than anticipated. For instance, I’ve visited sites where the energy managers believed they were working at efficiency levels 15% higher than they actually were – if you’re like me, this will set alarm bells ringing.

Energy managers are well placed to seize the initiative and take the first step towards accurately measuring system efficiency by monitoring its energy performance. Traditionally, the only way to guarantee an accurate efficiency reading was through significant upfront financial investment in Building Management Systems (BMS) and even then, adequate data was not provided. Such systems failed to provide the energy managers with the why behind the boilerhouse’s performance, often leaving them to use their experience and rough calculations to calculate plant efficiency. Gone are the days of tradition however, investing in a cost-effective energy monitoring solution can provide you with the data needed to accurately understand the efficiency of your boilerhouse.

As simple as 1, 2, 3

To help you consider where you can make changes to your plant to boost efficiency, I’ve put together a brief guide on boilerhouse efficiency savings, ‘A Guide to Identifying the True Efficiency of Your Boilerhouse’. The guide details eight areas where you can seize the initiative and make several simple and cost-effective improvements to your steam system - increasing site efficiency and reducing operational costs. The boilerhouse system includes multiple points where losses can occur. Flip these losses on their head and you could find that these same areas are where efficiency savings can be generated. Spiralling energy costs are renowned for keeping plant operatives such as yourself on their toes. Limiting losses from your steam system could see you reducing the money spent paying for excess fuel, energy and maintenance. Fortunately, seeing the whole picture of your boilerhouse couldn’t be simpler. The B850 boilerhouse energy monitor has been designed to provide you with a helping hand.

While all steam systems are different this doesn’t mean you should overlook potential savings. Take for instance, a typical boilerhouse, operating for around 8736 hours with a fuel cost of £22 per tonne of steam. There are several savings you could potentially make here, such as a 10% saving on fuel. You can achieve this by increasing the condensate return from 60% to 80% (based on a 4,000kg/h steaming rate). Additionally, your search for efficiency savings could see you save 2% of the fuel currently used through both blowdown heat recovery and steam trap loss recovery. My years of experience in the steam industry have taught me that seeing the whole picture of your boilerhouse and steam and condensate loop could result in significant financial and energy savings.

Giving you a helping hand

Customers routinely tell me that they’re facing rising energy costs and an uncertain economic environment which is weakening their competitiveness on the global stage. It is always a surprise then to find some plant operatives and management teams in the UK relying on boilerhouse efficiency estimates as opposed to tangible efficiency readings. Boilerhouse energy monitors such as the B850 can help these teams to get serious on saving – bringing their financial and energy planning into the light.

The B850 boilerhouse energy monitor offers you a new way of monitoring that provides precise data that surpasses estimates. Its flexibility and ease-of-use ensures that you don’t need to overcomplicate the process of saving energy and money.

To find out how you can see the full picture of your boilerhouse efficiency, why not download our latest guide, ‘A Guide to Identifying the True Efficiency of Your Boiler House’?


Darren Silverthorn, National Controls and Metering Specialist 
Darren Silverthorn has spent his career working in the steam industry, joining Spirax Sarco in 2006. Darren brings his steam system experience and understanding of controls and metering to help in his commitment to support Spirax Sarco’s customers in creating highly efficient, highly safe systems that produce consistently high quality consumer products and services.