In today’s economy energy is money. You can either send your money into the atmosphere or keep it in your pocket; it’s your call. Behind the need to save energy are big-picture issues such as significant environmental concerns about air quality, the ozone layer, global climate change, and clean water. But, on a personal level, saving energy means cutting costs to increase profits.

Finding ways to save 
For companies that are already operating on lean crews and limited fixed expenses, what is left to cut?

The Macomb Group is saving hundreds of thousands of dollars for companies — sometimes in a matter of months — with its green initiative, the Macomb Energy Resource Integration Team(M.E.R.I.T.). Using energy audits, The Macomb Group and its partners analyze energy systems as a whole and determine where a company is leaking energy.

M.E.R.I.T. consultants take a “systems” approach to review your water, heating, steam, and piping designs. An energy audit can help your company reduce

  • Energy consumption — Improve the efficiency of the total system.
  • Maintenance costs — Ensure system components work together optimally.
  • Labor and downtime — Innovative products require less frequent replacement and repair.
  • Water use — Lower consumption and lower sewage costs.

Things to consider are the type of flange, gasket materials, the media the gasket will come in contact with, and the pressure temperatures it will be subjected to. For example, will the chemicals the gasket comes into contact with have corrosive qualities? How much thermal cycling should be expected? These are significant factors to consider when choosing the right gasket.

The Macomb Group offers a simple way to remember all the details of gasket selection: STAMP.

  • Size
  • Temperature
  • Application
  • Media
  • Pressure

With a complete energy system audit, you learn about improving the efficiency of the entire system from the smallest gasket to the biggest boiler.

Small steps will get you there 
“It’s not about selling one piece of hardware — a pump, a boiler, a control valve — it’s about using these systems together to best serve the purpose for which they were designed,” explains Mike Boyd, a principal at The Macomb Group.

Often The Macomb Group discovers that the equipment is operating far over capacity. For instance a hotel in Michigan might have a boiler equipped to handle -10-degree temperatures. But even in Michigan, the system needs to cope with that extreme temperature only two or three days a year. If the boiler operates at that capacity all year long, the amount of energy lost can amount hundreds or even thousands of dollars daily.

“That type of system is so far oversized, 98% of the time it’s operating out of its peak efficiency,” says Jeff Turner, from energy partner Systecore. “A boiler may need 100,000 BTUs of energy, but if it’s always running at 4 million BTUs, that’s 3,900,000 BTUs going up the stack, while only 100,000 is used for the system.”

An energy audit can range from an in-depth analysis to a simple walk through. The Macomb Group often takes a “wade in” versus a “dive in” approach. This way, companies start with a small project to realize immediate savings, and then move on to larger projects.

Alma College is the perfect example. (Read about it in the Success Story article in this issue of The Macomb Pipeline.) The college started by replacing one boiler pump and saved approximately $2,000 per year on its gas bill. The college has since replaced a total of 45 pumps, realizing a savings of more than $90,000 annually.

The upgrades recommended are not limited to big-ticket items. The Macomb Group can walk through and recommend small fixes such as replacing steam traps or capping off leaking valves; even these inexpensive repairs can return a significant savings. Sometimes, Mike says, The Macomb Group will recommend replacing a $250 part, and the client can recoup the cost in the savings they see on the very next energy bill.

“The main thing is to do it now,” he says. “Why wait?”

Let us find your biggest energy leak! Contact us today to set up an energy audit. Visit our website or contact the experts at The Macomb Group by email at or by phone at 888-756-4110.