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How EC fans make buildings more efficient and cost-effective

1st October 2019

Environmental regulations such as the ErP (Energy related Products) Directive are increasingly tackling inefficiencies in HVAC systems, which means that in many applications the use of Centrifugal and Axial fans driven by AC motors could be coming to an end. This is owing to the comparatively low total efficiencies of these small fans, which can easily account for 40-50% of the total energy consumption within typical building HVAC systems.Enter the EC fan; it’s more efficient, with better controllability and by comparison, is much quieter across the speed range. Incredibly, it operates up to 90% efficiency in converting electrical energy into air power, and consumes 70% less energy than an AC-fan.The technology, increasingly ubiquitous within the HVAC industry, promises efficiency gains, and cost reductions that will soon become a market standard.

The cost benefits of installing EC fans

For businesses, having efficient HVAC systems installed in buildings can be the difference between a profitable and a fruitless operation.

Evident, is that EC fans greatly improve the total efficiency of any HVAC system. The cost benefits of installation, however, are just as significant – and here’s why:

Up to 70% greater efficiency

EC fans use up to 70% less energy than AC-fans, this is because they are able to produce the same output for less input. With less power consumption necessary to run your HVAC system, the installation of EC fans means reduced energy costs in buildings.

For businesses, cost benefits’ associated with reduced energy consumption are hugely significant. According to the Carbon Trust:

‘A 20% reduction in energy costs represents the same bottom line benefit as a 5% increase in sales.

With the promise of an improved bottom line, businesses are likely to invest more confidently in HVAC installations and upgrades.

Reduced maintenance costs

EC fans are a motor, speed controller and impeller built into a single module and do not need belts and pulleys that are associated with more traditional AC induction motor driven fans. This means there is less requirement for maintenance generally.

Design

The impeller section of EC fans contains a permanent magnet and forms the rotor.

The stator section uses brushless DC technology which unlike brushed motors which wear down due to friction and create carbon dust, are cleaner and maintenance free. The stator section contains a number of coils depending upon the design speed of the fan and the control and protection electronics.

Traditional brushes are replaced with electronic switches to energise the motor coils in sequence, hence the term ‘Electronically Commutated’ or EC for short.

With greater efficiency, lower energy consumption for equivalent air flow and lower costs associated with maintenance EC fans offer the ROI necessary to justify installation, and will increase the saleability of any HVAC system significantly.

Increased controllability

EC fans feature an integrated variable speed controller which accepts a 0-10V reference voltage for adjusting the fan speed. With very little variance in efficiency across the speed range, it is possible to adjust to the speed required whilst cutting down energy wastage from running faster than necessary. This reduces energy consumption costs considerably, and is especially useful for buildings which need to be adaptable to changes in temperature, such as office spaces.

Reduced noise levels

Unlike AC fans, where noise levels are dependent on voltage frequency; an EC fan operates with minimal noise even at low rotational speeds.

For buildings that have to be sensitive to noise – for example a library, law court, supermarket, etc – utilising EC fans is particularly beneficial. It not only removes the need to invest in acoustic enclosures, but significantly reduces energy costs.

Improved EPC rating

Greater efficiency improves EPC ratings, which can increase the value sale price of buildings. Buildings that are fitted out with efficient HVAC systems will have much greener credentials, and lower running costs – potentially upping the sale price significantly.

EC fans enhance a HVAC systems green credentials, while reducing unnecessary energy costs. An up-to-date HVAC system is more attractive to clients, and existing customers can be assured they aren’t falling short on available cost-savings or compliance regulations

Dalroad supply a range of 230V/380V high-efficiency EC fans. They are available in both axial and centrifugal types and can be forward or backward curved to suit the application required. These fans are widely used in the commercial HVAC market. To get a quote on EC fans for any upcoming project or upgrade, please get in touch with one of our experts.