According to the Environmental Protection Agency, lean manufacturing refers to both a philosophy of design and a set of best practices that improve the quality of production while simultaneously reducing waste. Originally implemented by the Japanese manufacturing industry, lean strategies have become increasingly popular in the United States. Today several major engineering industries, from aerospace to material science, implement lean manufacturing techniques to cut costs and become more sustainable. One element of lean manufacturing that often goes unreported is the benefits of reducing overhead through waste management. Installing green appliances like tankless water heaters is a great way to reduce waste in the manufacturing and industrial sectors.
Lean improvements target overhead
Data collected by accounting firm Maxwell, Locke & Ritter showed that American corporations are taking a greater interest in reducing water waste. IBM, for example, seeks to reduce its water consumption by 2 percent annually. This lean approach helps to cut costs by reducing energy use, and tankless water heaters offer factories a simple solution for reducing utility costs across the board. Streamlining waste reduction is itself another form of lean manufacturing, as using a single appliance to resolve multiple waste issues requires fewer resources than addressing each problem individually.
The first way that water heaters cut back on operating costs is by reducing water waste. Traditional storage tanks work by heating a large volume of hot water in a reservoir before distributing the heated water as needed. Unfortunately, the design of storage water tanks is inherently inefficient, making them a hotbed of energy waste. Standby loss is caused anytime workers utilize the building's sinks but have to wait for hot water. Every lukewarm gallon flowing down the drain translates to lost utility savings for the company. Standby energy loss also occurs at the storage tank itself – heat naturally flows out of the reservoir tank while the heated water sits in storage. Companies must foot the cost of extra fuel used to keep water temperatures stable. By going tankless, this water and heat waste is resolved.
Tankless ideal for efficient construction
The two keys of lean manufacturing are reducing the costs of production and more efficiently using capital, both goals that are very consistent with green building practices, said Green Business. In fact, tankless water heaters offer an easy way to execute lean production when building a new industrial building. Sinks and safety showers must be heated precisely in order for a building to pass its inspections and stay up to OSHA and ANSI codes. These codes include requirements for heat controls, in order to safeguard sink users from potential scalds and burns.
Installing a separate temperature control valve requires to consume additional resources and expose their building to additional maintenance costs in the long run. Industry-leading tankless water heater models are designed to meet these compliance issues out of the box, helping construction companies to practice a leaner approach to water heater installation.