Improving the efficiency of energy assessments with application of lean tools—a case study
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Energy auditing is steadily rising on the list of priorities for companies, and government mandates and restrictions are requiring businesses to become energy conscious. A typical university-based energy auditing program like the Louisiana Smart and Secure Energy Assessment Laboratory (LASSEL) provides useful service to local industries by identifying energy-saving opportunities and by creating energy management plans for the industries. While the energy audit procedure is standardized, it is possible that the use of lean concept can improve the efficiency of the auditing process. This research is a case study which examines how the total task time needed to carry out energy assessments can be reduced using lean tools. In this study, the potential areas of improvement are analyzed using the Pareto analysis and non-value-added activities are identified. To achieve savings in task time, lean tools such as four-step rapid setup, standardized work, and 5S are applied. A revised procedure is developed and the results of using the new procedure can decrease total energy assessment time by an average of 18%. The variation in total energy assessment time measured by range can be reduced by 65%. Using the lean-based procedure, LASSEL is able to serve more industries per period.
KeywordsEnergy saving Energy audit Industrial assessment center Value-stream map 5s Four-step rapid setup Process balancing Lean workforce
This research is partially supported by Louisiana Department of Natural Resources under LADNR Contract no. 2031-14-03, “Smart and Secure Energy Assessment (LASSEA).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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