This research project examined the market readiness of the recently developed Fan Energy Index and identified how to incorporate this index into the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program portfolio.
The commonly used Fan Efficiency Grade (FEG) metric defines a fan’s efficiency at a rated condition. However, the condition a fan is rated for is rarely its actual application. As a result, fan performance deviates greatly based on improper sizing, operating pressure and operating speed.
The Fan Energy Index (FEI), developed by the Air Movement and Control Association (AMCA), allows for the comparison of different fans at application-specific operating conditions. This research quantified the energy savings potential of using FEI across a variety of sectors, fan types, fan speeds, drive types and fan powers. Additionally, the project team conducted interviews with manufacturers, contractors, designers, building owners and facility operators to understand potential barriers to widespread adoption of the FEI and high-efficiency fans.
Results and Outcomes
Upgrading a fan’s FEI has significant energy savings and favorable economics across many applications. The industrial sector has higher normalized savings as compared to the commercial sector due to its longer hours at higher (and therefore less efficient) speeds. Smaller fans have higher normalized savings as compared to larger fans since they tend to be less efficient, meaning there is more room for improvement.
The project team estimated the total savings potential in the ComEd service territory by combining the per fan energy savings from the performance potential analysis with an estimate of the number of applicable standalone fans. The annual technical potential is approximately 53 and 26 million kWh for the commercial and industrial sectors, respectively. The project team recommended a midstream program incentive to drive market adoption of the FEI metric.