PennTAP onsite visit a U.S. Silica plant

PennTAP onsite visit a U.S. Silica plant | Photo Credit: PennTAP advisor, Royal Smith

An investment from the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) helped the Pennsylvania Energy Programs Office provide energy efficiency site assessments and recommendations to 50 Pennsylvania companies, resulting in a potential energy savings of 7.8 million kilowatt hours (kWh) and almost $1 million in costs if implemented.

The Energy Programs Office, housed in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, worked with the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP) to provide the energy efficiency recommendations to the companies. One company, U.S. Silica, a silica sand supplier, was looking to reduce operating costs in its Mapleton plant. Through a site assessment, PennTAP recommended energy efficient lighting measures and upgrades to a sand drying system that ultimately saved 320,000 kWh of energy per year, equating to annual energy savings of $39,000 for U.S. Silica.

“PennTAP not only provided the Mapleton plant with quantification of the savings associated with the upgrades, but also helped us obtain rebates and credits to help offset the project expenses," said David Arendash, Environment, Health, and Safety Manager of U.S. Silica.

PennTAP recommended replacing the existing lights with LED light bulbs compatible with the explosion-proof casing already required by safety regulations. PennTAP also recommended replacing the damper system within a particularly energy intensive, loud sand drying system with a variable frequency drive to reduce the motor and airflow speed which would in turn reduce the noise as well as the energy use. In addition to the site assessment, PennTAP provided assistance with funding logistics.

The energy efficiency site assessments provided to Pennsylvania companies were funded, in part, by the State Energy Program within EERE's Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office. Since 2010, the State of Pennsylvania has received more than $13 million from the State Energy Program, resulting in more than 1,000 jobs created or retained and nearly 4,500 people trained in energy efficiency installations.

Read more State Energy Program success stories.

EERE's State Energy Program, within the Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office, provides funding and technical assistance to states, territories, and the District of Columbia to enhance energy security, advance state-led energy initiatives, and maximize the benefits of decreasing energy waste. The State Energy Program emphasizes the state’s role as the decision-maker and administrator for program activities tailored to their unique resources, delivery capacity, and energy goals.