There’s more than one way to measure your energy-saving potential from new HVAC technologies. Replacing fan motors, retrofitting air handling units, and using recovery units can all contribute to optimised power consumption. Here’s how each modern HVAC technology and installation techniques save you money, time, and headache.
You’re probably already aware that HVAC fans use approximately 40% of all energy consumed by a building. EC fans can reduce power usage by 27%. But how do experts generate these numbers, and how can you measure cost savings for yourself? But how do experts generate these numbers, and how can you measure cost savings for yourself?
What to look for
To achieve high-efficiency results, it’s essential to get familiar with the latest HVAC motor technologies—these will account for the largest chunk of power savings over time. Follow up by researching air handling unit designs, installation techniques and other variables that will impact your financials. Adaptability is a common theme for efficient HVAC systems. After all, most buildings are rarely static systems. Look for products that offer wide ranges of operation, digital automation, and peak operational in a variety of situations.
Here are the primary things to account for when retrofitting or installing new HVAC units with the main goal of generating savings:
- EC Fan Type and Size
- Fan Array Technology
- Automated Controls
- Space Requirements
- Energy Recovery
Prioritise EC Fans
Motor selection accounts for nearly all energy-saving and losses in HVAC cost analysis, according to the research from the Arizona Department of Commerce Energy Office. However, older single-unit, belt-driven fan units have very low total efficiency according to the Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations, which measured over 700 buildings in Sweden. On the other hand, EC motor types are highly efficient—so much so that they are recommended by the European Union for eco-friendly commercial applications, due to higher efficiencies, greater controls and ease in maintenance and installation.
How to measure savings generated by EC Fans
Before replacing a unit, HVAC engineers will measure your existing airflow, pressure, CO2 emissions, size restrictions, ambient temperature and other special requirements. This step is necessary to dimension the requirements for the new air handling unit and give a baseline for power consumption. After the new system is in place, the same wattage measurements are taken with similar airflow and pressure. In many cases, you can reduce power consumption anywhere from 30-70% under the same conditions.
Use fan array technology
Traditionally, highly efficient EC motors couldn’t reach the airflow and pressure ranges that a large single-unit fan generates. Placing them together in a fan array technology and arranging multiple EC-motor fans in a Lego-like grid formation has largely solved this challenge.
Reaching optimal performance
Your HVAC engineer will select the appropriate fan design and size to provide the necessary airflow and pressure at optimal operating points. The number of fans and spatial limitations are also highly customisable, as fan array technology has an optimal minimum separation distance. This feature helps to maximise energy savings while reducing the investment payback period.
Save on installation and maintenance costs
This Lego-like structure can save you money through the ease of installation and reduced maintenance costs. Every component in a fan array technology can be handled by one person and requires no heavy machinery to remove or install. This is unlike in belt-driven fans, which require large equipment, constant maintenance, lubrication, and part replacements. EC fans generate no debris, making them less maintenance-heavy. In the event of a failure, a single technician can easily remove them.
Reduce footprint, save from design-efficiency
Fan arrays are typically much smaller in profile than single-fan, belt-driven units. This characteristic opens up a few key opportunities around HVAC footprint, where limited space can become an expense. Often, custom supports or encasings need to be built in tight spaces, further increasing the cost of ownership. At Swiss Rotors, our fan array technology is highly customisable and significantly reduces footprint, without the need for any complex encasing structures. In some systems, the cost of partitions between fans can even be eliminated if they are adequately spaced apart.
Automatic speed and environmental controls
Operation at peak efficiency means adapting to changing scenarios. Pressure conditions vary in every ventilation system depending on components like filters or heat recovery exchangers. Seasonality, humidity, and airtightness can also lead to changes in how your HVAC system operates. Instead of having a fixed, continuous airflow, what if your fans adapted to power consumption needs at every moment? EC-fans can adapt their airflow and pressure automatically. This feature is possible as they are digitally controlled and have special sensors that can receive input and generate output signals. With a simple feedback loop and threshold requirements, EC fan arrays can automatically adjust as needed.
Specifically, EC fans can automatically slow down, which reduces energy costs. Decreasing fan speed by only 10% can reduce power usage by 27%. This ability gives EC fans the most significant advantage over belt-driven fans as these cannot reduce speed and perform at the same efficiencies.
Understanding energy savings and recovery
HVAC energy savings and losses come from many directions. If you want to take a step beyond just EC-motor and fan array technology, Swiss Rotors energy recovery solutions offer the ability to save on heating and cooling costs. During summer and winter months, heat exchange units can recycle energy, leading to considerable savings. Ultimately, it’s crucial to have an HVAC professional partner to guide you through energy-saving products on the market, so that you can make informed decisions. Get to know product efficiency ratings, and then create supplemental strategies that can further reduce consumption.
Contact us if you’d like to learn more about how to make your HVAC systems more energy-efficient.