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Epson Portland's New Monitoring System Significantly Reduces Energy Use

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Located in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, Epson Portland Inc. has the important role of manufacturing Epson ink cartridges and other items for the US domestic market.

Epson Portland is also at the forefront of Epson's efforts to minimize the company's impact on the environment, and over the years has been responsible for implementing a number of initiatives. The latest plan has involved the installation of a new building monitoring system to control heating and cooling in large production areas - a project that has led to an annual savings of 400 man-hours and $50,000 in energy costs. Manually controlling the HVAC system required constantly monitoring pressure gauges and thermostats at several locations in and outside of the building. The new system continually monitors temperatures and sends a notification to the facility manager's mobile phone if it detects an anomaly. He or she can change or correct the need for more heat or air conditioning from his or her desk or even offsite.

The new system makes it much easier for Epson Portland to identify energy waste. For example, with the previous system there was no way to automatically cool down the clean room by increasing the input of external air when the external temperature was lower than the temperature in the clean room. Instead, it was necessary for the air conditioning to be constantly switched on and off to maintain the clean room at the correct temperature.

The first phase of installing the HVAC monitoring system revealed that the air conditioners were cycling every
12 minutes when outside air temperatures were within a certain range.

To solve this issue, Epson Portland teamed up with the Energy Trust of Oregon, a non-profit organization that helps businesses make affordable upgrades to save energy. Economizers were installed to enable the use of outside air to control the temperature inside. This ensures that the building doesn't rely totally on electric heating and cooling. If the monitoring system detects that it is cooler outside than it is inside, it will adjust the airflow on the economizer to pull inside air out, and allow cool outside air to filter in. Epson Portland also installed pressure sensors into the clean room to allow automatic control of dampers in three places.

The second phase of the project was to wire the system to sixteen mixing boxes located in office areas. This will save the company an additional $2,750 in energy costs each year.

Epson Portland eventually plans to wire the system to more locations in the building, further boosting efficiency and reducing energy consumption.