With two inefficient natural gas furnaces driving up energy costs but lacking a solution that met corporate ROI requirements, Beall decided to apply for cash incentives through Ameren Illinois ActOnEnergy, a program that provides financial resources to businesses for the installation of energy-efficient equipment. Beall had implemented lighting projects with ActOnEnergy in the past, but embarking on natural gas improvements was more complicated. Completing a detailed feasibility report and satisfying the requirements of a custom project were outside the company’s comfort zone.
ActOnEnergy recommended Beall pursue a feasibility study program, which provides up to $10,000 (or 50 percent of the study’s costs) so companies can seek outside assistance to analyze extensive energy-efficiency projects. That enabled Beall to bring in IMEC as a facilitator, and IMEC called on experts from Missouri Enterprise and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to collect data on energy usage, perform engineering and economic analyses, calculate energy-savings potential, estimate break-even and operational costs, and ultimately recommend a more energy-efficient solution. Beall submitted the feasibility study to Ameren and applied for a custom project – which resulted in a financial commitment from Ameren Illinois ActOnEnergy to pay for a portion of the upgrades.
- Financial incentives to install energy-efficient furnace & burners
- Significant reductions in natural gas usage & emissions
- Estimated $50,000 in cost savings per year
- Identification of future energy-efficiency projects & savings
East Alton Manufacturer Acts on Energy to Generate Major Cost Savings
With two inefficient natural gas furnaces driving up energy costs but lacking a solution that met corporate ROI requirements, Beall Manufacturing turned to ActOnEnergy for support – and with IMEC’s help, the company qualified for financial incentives for an energy-efficiency project that may generate $50,000 in savings a year.
A 108-year-old manufacturer of forged and hot-formed parts for agricultural, railroad and industrial customers, Beall was no stranger to the Ameren Illinois ActOnEnergy program, which offers cash incentives to business and residential consumers for energy-efficient improvements. Beall had implemented several lighting projects with ActOnEnergy’s support in the past. But embarking on natural gas improvements was more complicated. Completing a detailed feasibility report and satisfying the requirements of a custom project through ActOnEnergy were outside the company’s comfort zone.
“We knew we could save a lot on gas usage in our furnaces,” said Beall President Mark Speciale. “But ActOnEnergy needed hard evidence from us that those savings would be real, and we just didn’t have the expertise in house to prove it.”
That’s when Mark Steinmetz, an energy advisor from ActOnEnergy, suggested Beall pursue a feasibility study program as a first step. This ActOnEnergy initiative provides financial incentives – up to $10,000 or 50 percent of the study’s costs – so companies can seek exterior assistance to analyze extensive energy-efficiency projects and quantify potential savings. Going the feasibility study route enabled Beall to bring in IMEC as a facilitator, and IMEC in turn called on experts from Missouri Enterprise (IMEC’s sister organization, which has significant experience working on Ameren Missouri ActOnEnergy projects) and third-party evaluators from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
This team visited Beall’s East Alton facility to collect data on the energy used by the two older manufacturing furnaces and – after performing various engineering and economic analyses, calculating energy-savings potential and estimating break-even and operational costs – made a recommendation for installing more energy-efficient alternatives.
With IMEC’s help, Beall submitted the feasibility study to Ameren Illinois and applied for a custom project – which resulted in a financial commitment from ActOnEnergy to pay for a portion of the energy-efficiency upgrades. This financial support will allow Beall to install one new double-slot box furnace that incorporates the latest-technology burners, as well as replace the burners in a second furnace with more efficient models.
“Without the participation of ActOnEnergy, we wouldn’t be moving forward with this project,” Speciale said. “The ROI simply wouldn’t be there.”
Beall expects to see about $50,000 in cost savings annually due to reduced natural gas usage in the two upgraded furnaces. Speciale is confident the company will realize significant environmental benefits – in the form of reduced emissions – as well. And the project may lead to additional energy-efficiency improvements and cost savings down the road. As part of the feasiblity study, the IMEC-led team looked at ways to capture and reuse waste heat generated by Beall’s manufacturing processes, something the company may begin exploring in the near future.
Steinmetz believes ActOnEnergy’s financial incentives plus IMEC’s third-party expertise was a winning combination. “ActOnEnergy works with companies to help them use less energy, keep production costs down and be more competitive,” he said. “IMEC was an excellent partner to bring everyone together.”
Speciale agrees. “IMEC got the right people involved and made it happen for us,” he said. “They did exactly what their mission says they’re all about – supporting small and mid-sized manufacturers.”
“IMEC got the right people involved and made it happen for us. They did exactly what their mission says they’re all about – supporting small and mid-sized manufacturers.”
– Mark Speciale, President