The Government, in its national quest to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, has sharpened its focus on the energy performance of buildings. In the drive for better air quality, greater energy efficiency and the reduction of carbon emissions, the latest editions of Building Regulations Documents F&L are now beginning to take effect. Precise controllability, more reliability and less energy – new energy efficient motors in fans deliver direct benefits to the HEVAC industry.
Building Regulations F & L have signalled a big shift towards energy efficient buildings and have set the standard for the maximum carbon dioxide emissions for whole buildings. This performance-based approach offers designers the flexibility to choose suitable solutions which allow for adequate means of ventilation for people in the building, and which are energy efficient, cost-effective and practical.
However, the revisions to Part L have raised performance standards to a level that has provided a strong incentive to designers to consider low carbon systems, not least the development of the SAP Appendix Q process for ventilation, which affects postively the role of mechanical ventilation with or without heat recovery and with DC motors on Dwelling Emission Rates.
In the context of increasingly demanding environmental legislation and rising awareness of the need to reduce energy consumption, energy efficient motors look set to expand their share of the market for industrial, commercial and residential ventilation.
There are two main types of electric motors: direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC). Compared to AC motors, DC motors are faster, more efficient and offer more accurate speed and position control. Moreover, while AC motors produce an audible 60 Hz “hum,” DC motors are much quieter. DC motors are also usually smaller than AC motors, providing manufacturers with the opportunity to design applications that are smaller with different styles and looks.
Generally, DC motors draw less current (about two to four times less) and therefore consume less power compared to an AC motor with equal output power. DC motors also work better for situations where speed needs to be controlled as they have a more stable and continuous current. DC motors are finding their way into new products and applications that previously used AC motors exclusively.
Paul Kilburn, Vent-Axia’s Group Sales and Marketing Director explained: "Vent-Axia has been instrumental in using LoWatt DC technology. Vent-Axia believes in practical action and has been spearheading the campaign to deliver more affordable long life ventilation. Vent-Axia’s residential and commercial product ranges are all available with DC technology, improving performance, reducing running costs, extending fan life whilst ensuring reliability. However, Vent-Axia is now using a new revolutionary motor, called ‘EC’ that offer the efficiency and speed control benefits of DC, with built in AC to DC conversion and speed control."
EC motors are a better, more efficient motor at every speed but it doesn't stop there. Utilising EC motors in fan systems offers many benefits; for example, EC fans can use as little as a third of the energy of industry standard AC fans. EC fans offer easy, quiet and efficient speed control and all the electronics are built into the fan making other components more efficient.
The greater reliability and longer life of DC and EC motors has the further advantage of extending the life of insulating materials, lubricants and bearings, thereby cutting the cost and inconvenience of return service visits.
EC fans save energy and increase the longevity of the products, whilst reducing lifetime costs, thereby adding value. They significantly lower noise and generate less heat than conventional AC and DC motors. The EC motor’s compact design makes it easy to install in any position, which opens up this motor to a wide range of possible applications.
As technologies become more advanced and cost-effective, we should expect to see more innovative low energy fan systems introduced to the market featuring different designs as well as improved performance. Across Europe, energy efficient fan systems could save almost 200 billion KWh a year of electricity.