Reduce Energy Costs - New ErP Directive Sets the Standard

Feb 2015

1st January 2015 the next phase of the Energy Related Products (ErP) Directive comes into effect, with new tighter energy efficiency levels. Paul Kilburn, Commercial Director at Torin-Sifan explains how the changes affect commercial fans and how this can reduce a building’s energy usage.

The New Year rings in the changes for efficiency… The next phase of European Regulation 327/2011 will be introduced in January 2015 and aims to ensure that electrically driven fans, rated between 125 W and 500 kW, meet ever more stringent efficiency levels. All fans that are sold or imported into Europe are affected by the Directive and manufacturers are required to ensure their products achieve the new efficiency levels. Fans which do not comply with the efficiency levels will not be permitted to be marketed in Europe after January 2015.

The Directive aims to help meet obligations set out by the Kyoto Protocol to increase energy efficiency by 20%, decrease the environmental impact of energy using products and promote environmental sustainability. The Directive is intended to help in delivering the EU objectives to: reduce greenhouse gas emissions; reduce the adverse environmental impacts of products; and ensure free trade in energy using and energy related products.

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All new fans used after 1 January 2015 with input powers of 125W-500kW must comply with the new more stringent efficiency limits. This includes axial fans, forward and backward curved centrifugal fans and cross flow fans. It is important to note that the regulation not only applies to fans as individual items, but also applies to fans integrated into other products such as complete ventilation, heating and cooling products and it is the responsibility of product manufacturers to ensure compliant fans are being used within their products. However, it is also important for energy managers and FMs to be aware of the regulation.

With energy prices continuing to rise and a growing environmental awareness, reducing the energy requirements of a building is an increasingly appealing prospect. By working closely with contractors when specifying any new products or upgrades, energy consultants, facilities managers and end users can ensure that any products comply with the new Directive and that the most efficient products on the market are selected. This will also have the added advantage of gaining an improved energy performance certificate (EPC) for a building, as well as cut fuel bills.

Fan Motor Efficiency Grade

The Directive ISO 12759 has been established to allow fan producers to measure the efficiency of fans in a consistent manner and determine compliance. The efficiency of a fan is expressed as a Fan Motor Efficiency Grade (FMEG) and there is a specific labelling requirement for fans to ensure efficiency data is easily visible and well communicated.

When the first phase of legislation was enforced in January 2013, this removed a significant number of the lowest efficiency fans from the market. The January 2015 requirements will remove another portion of lower efficiency solutions from sale ensuring only the most efficient traditional AC motorised fans are specified and driving a clear move to Electronically Commutated (EC) motorised fan technology which offers best in class efficiency as well as other benefits in the form of intelligent controllability.

But the Directive goes beyond just looking at energy efficiency and looks at the entire product lifecycle. It aims to ensure improved efficiency, reduced environmental impact and reduced product lifecycle costs through a more rational use of resources. At Torin-Sifan our product development strategy is heavily influenced by legislation such as this Directive and we are committed to reducing energy consumption and waste as well as providing our customers with high quality products.

Energy managers and FMs will be pleased to hear there are a number of ways to comply with ErP. For those taking a shorter term view, it is still possible to comply with the 2015 limits in some fan categories, using traditional Asynchronous (AC) motor solutions. As a leader in the supply of forward curved centrifugal fans, Torin-Sifan is still able to supply high performance traditional AC forward curved products which are both compliant and offer lower initial capital cost. For higher efficiencies, another option which Torin-Sifan is able to supply, is an AC fan with an on-board frequency inverter which comfortably exceeds the requirements of the Directive for 2015. Frequency controlled direct drive centrifugal fans (FCDDC) utilise more efficient three phase AC motor technology. The range also offers significant intelligence and flexibility with the options of being programmed for constant flow, pressure and speed while being extremely quiet due to the elimination of mechanical resonances.

However, for those considering compliance to the 2015 limits and also the challenges that will follow in the medium term, the move to EC Motorised technology is the most obvious technical choice. EC Motors are able to operate with over 90% efficiency when comparing power in to power out. EC Motors can offer up to 75% energy savings when compared to an equivalent AC Motor. EC Motors offer a future ready, energy efficient option, with an extended lifetime and lower life cycle costs that can offset the higher initial capital cost associated with EC products.

For example, Torin-Sifan’s new energy efficient EC Direct Drive Centrifugal Fans (ECDDC) are not only compliant with the ErP Directive for 2015, but also exceed its required FMEGs by nearly 50%. The ECDDC range also offers best in class performance for lowest specific fan power. Ideal for a wide range of applications, the ECDDC fans also have the added advantage of being suitable for retrofit with traditional AC Forward Curved ranges, ensuring minimum design disruption for OEMs. This also makes the fans ideal for refurbishment projects where fan efficiency needs to be upgraded.

With the January 2015 implementation for new energy efficiency levels just upon us, there is already a European consultation in progress regarding an additional tightening of efficiency grades from 2017/18. A decision to implement EC technology is the best route to ensuring compliance to both the current legislation and the future challenges the industry will face, and so will be a sustainable decision for years to come.

If we are to buy into the goals of the ecodesign requirements and play our part in reducing carbon emissions, electricity consumption and energy bills, EC Motor technology is the best choice we can make. While initial purchase costs are higher, when compared to traditional AC Fans, it is important that whole life costs are considered when comparing technologies to ensure EC technology is fairly considered as the best commercial as well as technical solution. So for building owners, energy managers and FMs it is win, win, with EC motor technology helping to achieve a more efficient building with lower fuel costs.