Monday, 7 February 2011


We see much in the news these days about going green and how green individual products are, but what should we be really doing to improve environmental performance?

We have become so focused on green issues that we are ignoring the real answer to the problem. Greater efficiency offers the path of least resistance to meeting the green agenda but also allows an organisation to reduce its energy bill. For organisations willing to invest, the first important step is to identify processes where energy consumption is high and find ways of improving that process.

A study, carried out in cooperation with Tampere University of Technology, demonstrates how long It takes a drive to start making a positive contribution to the environment. The ecological payback was calculated for three ABB drives of 0.75 kW, 7.5 kW and 250 kW, respectively. The payback times were short in all instances, decreasing with higher power ratings. The 0.75 kW drive compensated for its global warming potential in 6 days; for the 7.5 kW drive it was 1.1 days and for the 250 kW drive it was 0.5 days.

By operating the drive for just half a day it is possible to avoid enough emissions to fully compensate for the carbon impact of the drive’s manufacturing and disposal. The carbon footprint of the organisation then starts to shrink as the drive will continue to benefit the environment by saving emissions throughout its lifetime. An ABB industrial drive will typically provide a total lifetime savings of around 7,500 MWh or 3,800 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

There are not many pieces of equipment out there that offer such a positive environmental impact after such a short period of time, generally products take much longer to compensate for their own manufacture and disposal. Installing a new drive will improve an organisation's energy efficiency, helping them to improve their environmental contribution whilst lowering energy bills in the process.

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