My favorite season -- summer -- is upon us, and it couldn't have come soon enough. Certainly, I love summer because of the long lazy days, concerts, festivals, sporting events and more: the veritable wealth of entertainments upon which I gorge myself. Yet the reason for summer attaining most-favored-season status is much simpler: it is because it is warm -- even hot. And, it's free! Heat, heat, glorious heat, let my bones soak it up.

I keep my home unusually cold during the other seasons, so much so that it is not unusual to see me in a winter hat, gloves or scarf insidemy home. It all started several years ago when I challenged myself to reduce my home heating bills by 10 percent. It seemed a simple enough task, and I enjoyed the satisfaction of "being green" at so little cost. After all, how hard is it to put on a sweater?

Of course, now it's a decade later, and I'm still making my annual 10 percent challenge. And, I've realized that if I want to continue feeling green without feeling like I'm cryogenically stored, I must expand the 10 percent challenge. So, I'm challenging you. What can you do to reduce your facility's energy consumption, by 1 percent, by 5 percent, or even by 10 percent?

To help you begin the challenge, this issue brings a special Energy Efficiency section. (For ongoing help, future issues also will include feature articles and tip sheets for a range of equipment and processes.) First up is "Steam Generator Solutions," which explains how imaginative heat-management schemes cut processing costs of snacks and spices. Also take a look at "Reduce Costs and Improve Emissions Compliance," a technical article from Rich Cada of Fox Thermal Instruments Inc., Marina, Calif., which explains how accurate, repeatable measurement of air and process gases is key to improving energy-management processes.

Also in this issue,Process Heatingwelcomes back Darren Traub of Drytech Engineering Inc., Irvine, Calif., who returns to his "Drying Files" column with a call for each of us to become "industrial environmentalists." By implementing efficiency and productivity measures, Traub says, and by reducing energy consumption, the biggest financial winners can be manufacturers.

Elsewhere in the issue, Jim Morrissey of Conversion Products Inc., Hayward, Calif., explains how an auxiliary catalytic assembly helped one processor extend oxidizer efficiency in "Maximizing Oxidizer Efficiency."

Insight into the design of inline open-coil resistive air heaters is the focus of "Not Just Full of Hot Air" by Shawn Gibbs of Farnam Custom Products, Arden, N.C. The article explains how users can utilize the heaters and optimize system performance.

In "Ethanol Plant Know-How," Shane LeCapitaine of Feeco International, Green Bay, Wis., explains how rotary drum systems can be used to dry and cool ethanol plant co-products.

Also, Lee Van Dixhorn of Hydro-Thermal Corp., Waukesha, Wis., explains how direct-steam injection heating systems work, the equipment needed for them, and how to select and size a system in "Considering Direct Contact Steam Injection?".

Finally, in "How to Measure Your Heat Load," engineers from Lytron Inc., Woburn, Mass., explain how to determine the amount of heat generated by your system -- the first step in selecting the proper cooling system for your application.

Linda Becker
Associate Publisher and Editor
BeckerL@bnpmedia.com