03 August 2017

Upgrading 1 component within your HVAC system could reduce your energy consumption by 40%

This article will look at the 5 core benefits received through only upgrading the fan component of your HVAC systems.

The advancements in technology over the past decade have led to an increase in energy efficient fans being used within HVAC systems (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems). These systems are typically responsible for 60% of a building's energy consumption and as a result, reducing the impact of these units can be very rewarding for energy and facility managers.

At ebm-papst, our GreenTech philosophy states that every new product released shall be economically and ecologically superior to its predecessor; ensuring there is always advancements in efficiency within our fans and motors. As market leaders in the design and manufacturing high efficiency EC* fans, we deliver cutting edge fan technology to the HVAC market everyday. However, it’s not always financially viable to upgrade your entire HVAC system to gain the benefits of this improved technology.

This article will look at the 5 core benefits received through only upgrading the fan component of your HVAC systems to an EC* motor; these systems include: Air Handling Units (AHUs), Computer Room Air Conditioning Units (CRAC), chillers, condensers and fan coils units.

1. Energy Savings = Financial Savings

It goes without saying that by reducing your energy usage, you will reduce the cost of your energy bills.

ebm-papst, in partnership with AB Group, helped one of the UK’s leading retailers - Marks and Spencer - achieve this by upgrading to EC technology. Together, 1,404 fans and 258 condensers were installed to 152 Marks and Spencer stores across the UK and Ireland. Following the upgrade, there is an estimated annual energy reduction of 3,265.3 kWh per fan, equalling to a cost saving of £375.51 per fan. This represents an annual saving of £527,223.

2. Reduce Carbon Emissions

Since the Climate Change Act 2008, the UK Parliament has been implementing targets to reduce Green House Gas Emissions. Parliament’s aim is to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% (from the 1990 baseline) by 2050. This is to help the UK become less reliant on imported fossil fuels and less exposed to higher energy prices in the future.

As a result, the Scottish Parliament has become dedicated to reducing both their carbon footprint and energy bills. ebm-papst presented the Environmental Performance Manager with details of the possible energy savings they could achieve through upgrading their HVAC equipment to EC fans, a survey was then requested. Working alongside equipment manufacturer, Airedale; the project resulted in initial savings of 11.5 tonnes of carbon per year. Further savings are expected when the second phase is implemented, with an estimated total reduction in carbon emissions of 20 tonnes per year.

3. Increased Controllability

In-keeping with their GreenTech philosophy, ebm-papst focused on making their EC fans even more energy efficient. They made advancements to their variable speed EC fans which meant they could now be controlled and monitored remotely. These developments enabled end users to quickly and easily change the speed of the fans based on their needs, or the information from the sensors and monitors.

In one case, ebm-papst created a customised solution for a client; which was a stand-alone system that had fan alarm monitoring, as well as remote speed control for the FCUs they installed. This allowed the customer to set the speed of individual FCU’s, and also identify any failures or alarms from a single control box located in their Facilities Office. This wasn’t just a convenience improvement for the end user, but also a smart energy saving solution. When they reduce the fan speed by 10%, this calculates to an energy consumption saving of roughly 40%.

4. Reduce Maintenance Costs

Most CRAC and AHU units are fitted with belt driven centrifugal fans and external control electronics. These fans require a lot of space and have high maintenance costs related to wear-and-tear of parts. Often, cheap and inefficient forward curved blowers are used.

In comparison, ebm-papst’s RadiFt and RadiPac GreenTech EC centrifugal fans have impressive efficiency and compactness. Running costs and maintenance work are greatly reduced, thanks to the simple ‘plug and play’ system, which removes the requirement for transmission belts and commissioning. They can deliver overall efficiency of over 60%.

5. Longer Service Life

EC fans have a longer life expectancy than their AC predecessors. This is due to the higher efficiency of the EC motors, which allows them to run much cooler; therefore, increasing the bearing life.

Also, by installing a new EC fan to replace its predecessor - which may be coming to the end of its life expectancy - you increase the service life of the entire CRAC or AHU unit.

What is a RetroFit?

In a RetroFit, specific components are upgraded to improve the performance of an existing system. They are typically seen as a cheaper method to save on energy consumption, carbon emissions and maintenance; without the hefty pay out of installing a completely new HVAC system.ebm-papst are specialists at creating and manufacturing bespoke Retrofit solutions. Each Retrofit start with a FoC Site survey.

In a recent example, ebm-papst conducted a survey for Diamond Light Source - working together with Cinque Energy Solutions and Stulz - where it became apparent that a lack of space would not allow for a normal EC upgrade. Due to the use of a scoop directing air in to the room, the EC solution had to be mounted within the CRAC unit enclosures rather than below. The solution was to utilise the latest RadiCal 560mm impeller from ebm-papst and mount them into bespoke metalwork frames; which were all engineered at ebm-papst. Our client was especially impressed with the noise reduction, saying that “One of our operators says he now has to give a unit the ‘cuddle test’ to confirm it is running since the significant reduction in noise and vibration!”

Upgrading to ebm-papst’s EC fans reduced energy consumption by 55% resulting in an annual saving of £32,000.

*What is EC technology?

EC stands for Electronic Commutation: EC motors are essentially brushless DC motors powered by AC mains. EC fans use permanent magnet motors, running on high voltage direct current (DC) electricity, with built in AC to DC conversion, allowing them to run direct from single phase or three phase mains supplies. This means that ebm-papst EC gives you high performance, silent speed control and long life expectancy in a product which is the same size as the old, power hungry AC products it replaces

Interested in finding out more?

View our new EC upgrade page for further information.

Click here to enquire about a free site survey for your estate and understand how an EC upgrade could save you money on your energy bills.

To view the original version of this article on Linkedin, click here.

Hannah Morphew
Office Administrator