Steam system efficiency

Discover how using steam around your business can save water and money.

Steam is used in thousands of applications across the full gamut of businesses in a variety of industries, including use as a heat source and for cleaning and sterilisation.

There are often simple and low cost improvements that can be used to optimise a steam system – saving businesses water, energy, and importantly, money.

To give you an idea of what’s possible, we’ve produced 2 videos and a factsheet to show you:

  • simple, cost effective tips to improve your steam efficiency
  • how one business made a simple alteration to their boiler start up and shut down procedures to save on energy and production costs.

Steam efficiency factsheet


Steam efficiency - wool processors

View Transcript

Image on screen: City West Water logo. Text on screen: Boiler and steam efficiency at Victoria Wool Processors

    "Victoria Wool Processors is one of Australia's largest wool processors, based in Laverton North in Melbourne's west."

    "We are what's called and early stage wool processor, so we take the wool off the farms."

    "A bail of wool when it arrives here is about 52% wool,and 48% is things that we have to remove and take away from the wool."

    "And that really is our job, to clean that up and send out 100% wool. This is done by washing it in water and detergent, a process known as "scouring", and then"

    "using sulphuric acid, friction & heat to remove the vegetable matter. Wash bowls, rinse bowls and acidising bowls are used in this process."

    "We put the wool through six wash bowls, the first three are heated to about 65 degrees, detergent"

    "is added before it is rinsed in the last three and then dried. Wool washing accounts for the majority of drinking water used onsite, although the steam generated by boilers also requires a great deal of water."

    "Victoria Wool Processors participated in City West Water's steam system efficiency program,"

    "which provided an audit focusing on how their business could optimise the efficiency of boiler room equipment and condensate return systems."

    "There were three recommended from the audit. The first one was a change in procedure"

    "on the shutdown of our boiler, which we implemented almost straight away. As soon as we read it,"

    "we realised this was very simple. We were amazed at how much it saved on startups."

    "The audit revealed that it takes Victoria Wool Processors at least four hours to warm"

    "up the boiler in order for it to generate steam for its wool scouring processes, depending on the season."

    "This presented an opportunity to reduce boiler start up times by isolating the main steam lines from the boiler to maintain boiler pressure."

    "This small change in operation keeps the boiler warm and improves water, energy and production efficiency."

    "Victoria Wool has since implemented the audit's recommendations for boiler start up. It was really just going out for a"

    "five minute discussion with our fitters to"

    "explain the change in procedure. There was no capital cost involved at all."

    "By reducing the boiler start up time by up to two hours, Victoria Wool Processors has"

    "noticed a 5% reduction on gas usage since the change was made. This is equivalent to"

    "over 1000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year and also reduces their gas bill."

    "David: The savings have been about $3000 per start up, and we probably have around 40 start ups per year,"

    "so it's potentially about $120,000 worth of savings for that 5 minute conversation with a fitter and the advice"

    "from the City West Water auditor."

    "This is just one of the efficiency improvements that Victoria Wool Processors has put in place."

    "They are currently working with City West Water to implement other recommendations identified"

    "in the steam audit report, which includes improvements in boiler equipment and their condensate return system."

    "David: I guess one of the advantages with this is that we are wool scourers, we don't"

    "really understand the boiler operations, you don't get the advice from your boiler water"

    "treatment people or your boiler service people. This was completely outside, thinking about"

    "things that you don't normally consider. So some of them were really easy to implement solutions that we hadn't even thought of."

    "Having invested in steam system efficiency, Victoria Wool Processors will continue to save precious water, energy and money for many years to come."

    "cutting to vision of the scouring and carbonising"

cutting to vision of the scouring and carbonising

Bails of wool

Image on screen: City West Water Logo. Text on screen: For more information visit

End of transcript.

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