Silica Sand Supplier Saves $39,000 Annually with Lighting and Drying System Updates

“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.”

—David Arendash, EHS Manager

The Need

U.S. Silica wanted to increase their facility’s energy efficiency and reduce operating costs. The company met with a PennTAP advisor and student team and determined that reducing lighting costs and improving the efficiency of the sand drying system represented two primary opportunities to update the facility.

The PennTAP Connection

U.S. Silica formed a team charged with identifying opportunities to improve the sustainability of its operations. David Arendash, a sustainability team member, identified PennTAP as a potential resource and submitted a web inquiry. A PennTAP advisor responded and arranged a meeting with U.S. Silica.

The Project

This project was funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program. After completing a walk-through of U.S. Silica’s facility,
PennTAP determined that lighting, which plays a major role in the company’s safety program, presented the greatest opportunity for cost-savings based on its quantity and quality. The team evaluated and documented the type and quantity of lighting throughout the facility and discussed areas of the plant where lights could be turned off when not needed. In addition, the U.S. Silica team pointed out excessive noise
coming from the sand drying system. When the PennTAP advisor and students conducted an audit of the system, they discovered that large pressure differences in the damper system caused the noise. The PennTAP team collaborated with U.S. Silica to identify a solution that would reduce the noise and lower energy costs.

The Outcome

The PennTAP team helped U.S. Silica identify when sections of the facility’s lighting could be turned off and recommended the use of a variable frequency drive, in place of a damper system, to reduce the speed of the motor and airflow and save energy. U.S. Silica completed both projects for a total savings of $39,000 annually, equivalent to 320,000 kWh. The total cost of the project was $40,000.