Pumps Aren’t the Enemy of Energy Efficiency

October 8, 2012 By Linda Hardesty

It’s just a myth that pumps in a large industrial facility use more than their fair share of energy, according to an article in Plant Engineering magazine. Pumps are indispensible in the industrial world, and it follows that they do use a lot of energy, accounting for almost 25 percent of all industrial motor energy usage. But they’re also a good target for increasing energy efficiency.

One way to increase efficiency is to “right-size” pump motors, rather than intentionally oversizing them for anticipated load demand. Other strategies include i) keeping up with maintenance to maintain the efficiency of the system; ii) optimizing pump speeds, and iii) using an energy management solution to profile the pump system (however, energy managers are often concerned about the ROI of an update or retrofit of pumping systems.)

Although many energy-efficiency strategies focus on lighting and HVAC, it’s a little known fact that two of an HVAC system’s primary applications are pumps and fans, according to Plant Engineering.

An Environmental Leader article about locating energy losses in commercial buildings notes that energy is often the largest line item in an operations facility management bill. So, monitoring and reducing excess energy use throughout a facility can lead to savings. Fans, blowers, motors and pumps are all cited as good places to scan for inefficiencies.

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