July 31, 2015

Steam traps have gotten a lot of recognition over the past couple of years as a source of energy savings. The CEE program summary captures the magnitude of savings and details of approaches taken by administrators to engage customers and industry stakeholders. While the savings potential is greatest for large, industrial customers, there are also numerous, similarly cost-effective, opportunities for the commercial sector and small industrial facilities.

However, programs are challenged to effectively reach these customers and are looking toward strategies that consider additional savings beyond the trap from the rest of the steam system. Although failed traps are inevitable, they fail sooner if the steam system is poorly maintained and operated or if they are installed or sized incorrectly. Dirt and particles in the steam, water hammer, or use of the wrong type of trap for an application all contribute to a shortened trap life.

Additional heat losses in the system occur through steam and condensate leaks, unrecovered condensate, flash steam, and poorly insulated or bare pipes. Is there a role for program administrators, steam equipment manufacturers, and the service industry to improve performance of the system, save energy, and lower costs? What are the market characteristics and what kind of offering makes sense? These issues and more are up for discussion as potential components of a binational steam systems strategy at the fall Industry Partners Meeting.

About CEE
CEE is an award-winning consortium of efficiency program administrators from the United States and Canada. Members work to unify program approaches across jurisdictions to increase the success of efficiency in markets. By joining forces at CEE, individual electric and gas efficiency programs are able to partner not only with each other, but also with other industries, trade associations, and government agencies. Working together, administrators leverage the effect of their ratepayer funding, exchange information on successful practices and, by doing so, achieve greater energy efficiency for the public good.