Profitability is at the core of any business. The more money you bring to investors and owners, the more valuable you become. So, if there’s a simple way to make your business more profitable, you should perk your ears. The good news is that there are many ways to do just this. For example, compare the horsepower requirements of equipment you purchase and choose the equipment that will require less energy.
Not impressed with the advice? Consider this: a 5-horsepower electric motor will cost $4,000 more to operate during its lifetime than a 2.5-horsepower motor in terms of electricity usage.1
Consider a more dramatic example—this time from real life. We designed a log deck and trough that uses multiple, ¾-horsepower motors instead of a single, 60-horsepower motor, which is typical on this type of equipment. We built a deck with eight strands, which require a total of six horsepower to operate.
Let’s assume the deck runs twenty hours a week. Over the lifetime of the deck, our design will require $3,810 in electrical usage. The old design would have cost $38,097.2
If you want to save money on electricity, you will have to purchase equipment that is more efficient. It’s doubtful you’ll get such savings from future energy prices. Prices have remained fairly constant in terms of kilowatt hour for the past sixty years when adjusted for inflation.
So, pay attention to power requirements. Lifetime costs will bite you if you don’t consider anything past the up-front sticker price.
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1Numbers from a theoretical drag conveyor that moves material 100 feet on a level surface for 40 hours a week at 100 percent capacity.
2Horsepower numbers from actual machines. Estimated 80 percent motor capacity. 20 hours a week of use was chosen for demonstration in this article.
1hp = 0.746kW
Average industrial kWh in May 2018: $0.0682
Equipment lifetime: 15 years
Basic calculation for lifetime electricity costs: (motor horsepower) x (motor capacity) (0.746kW) x (hours per week) x (52 weeks) x (15 years) x ($0.0682)
2.5hp motor at 40 hours a week = $3,968
5hp motor at 40 hours a week = $7,937
6hp motor at 20 hours a week = $3,809.68
60hp motor at 20 hours a week = $38,096.85