Reducing Energy Costs and Increasing Comfort

Ford Parts and Distribution Centre

The Ford Motor Company is a multinational business with headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.  With over 200,000 employees it is important to keep them comfortable.

Key objectives

  • Reduce Energy Costs
  • Increase Employee Comfort

Challenge

The Twin Cities Parts and Distribution Centre in Menomonie had been experiencing high energy bills and had common complaints from employees that they were too cold. Uneven air and heat distribution was causing the building to be over heated with the majority of the heat sitting up in the ceiling.

Solution

Before the destratification fans were installed, Ford had been experiencing high temperature differentials between the floor and ceiling of approximately 9 - 10°C. In April 2014, 9 - 7m HVLS fans and 56 - ZOO Fans were installed throughout the warehouse.
With this solution, Ford managed to minimise this temperature differential to 1°C overall from floor to ceiling & wall to wall and achieved the following results.  Improved thermal comfort for employees and saved energy and reduced their carbon footprint. It lowered operating costs during the heating season and during the summer months the fans provide a cooling effect at a significantly lower cost compared to installing and running air conditioning within the space. It created a more comfortable working environment for employees which had a strong positive effect on morale and productivity. With their fast payback, the fans generated an above-average return on investment and quickly began to deliver savings
Purchased utilities for the last quarter of 2014 showed a 60% decrease in heat energy used versus the same quarter in 2013. Gas expenditure in the final quarter of 2013 was $21,289. The same period of 2014 was $9,907 marking a 53.4%decrease in overall utility bills. In just three months, 30% of the ZOO Fan installation cost had been recovered.
The feedback from employees was equally impressive. Employees were so happy with the fan installation that the union approached Ford management about installing fans in other centres. Based on the utility savings realised and the increase in productivity, Ford have completed full fan installations in another million square feet, and partial (Phase One) installations in four other distribution centres totalling an additional million square feet.

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