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Andy Harrop, Global Director of Technical Applications and Knowledge Transfer at Armstrong Fluid Technology, puts forward the economic case for investing in the latest longer-lasting, energy- saving single-phase pumps.
The ongoing energy crisis has fundamentally changed the factors involved in pump selection and operation. As energy prices soar, the CAPEX savings associated with the conventional approach of installing low-cost, light-duty circulators, are swiftly being negated and even reversed by lifecycle costs. Rising energy bills are compounded by the costs of repair and replacement inherent in the traditional approach, as light-duty circulators used in these systems are usually not repairable, and are often designed for only a few years of operation.
As a result of these changes, the time has come to consider the advantages provided by the latest generation of pumps available for single-phase power application. Some of the energy efficiency advantages and connectivity you might associate with pumps for larger-scale commercial projects are now being incorporated into circulators for single-phase electrical power.
The latest generation of pump models for single-phase operation follow the design standards for large-scale commercial pumps and incorporate proven technology which improves energy efficiency in variable speed applications. The new Armstrong DEPM pump range, for example, incorporates on-board inverters, making them capable of adjusting automatically to changes in load. Design point and setpoints can be adjusted to match on-site conditions and there is the option of sequencing the pumps to operate along their peak efficiency control curve for all load conditions. Equipment loading can be optimised across the system as a whole, to achieve significant reductions in energy consumption. The pumps also incorporate a constant flow function, for maintaining a precise flow rate in recirculation applications.
Importantly, the latest pumps for single-phase applications provide far greater connectivity than traditional low-cost circulators. Being able to see how system components are performing in real-time is extremely valuable in reducing energy costs and improving the environmental performance of a building. Without information on fluid flow, across the system, it’s difficult to diagnose and optimise efficiency. With accurate flow information, the picture changes entirely. In the case of the Armstrong DEPM pump models, Active Performance Management capability is resident as standard and building owners/energy managers can opt for the subscription based Pump Manager service to further optimise efficiency. Pump Manager is a cloud-based application that uses the embedded intelligence and connectivity of Armstrong Design Envelope pumps to provide performance insights and reports to system operators.
With greater access to information, operators can make changes and address issues to optimise HVAC performance. Online trending and analysis across multiple parameters on single pumps, or on an aggregated basis for multiple pumps, can assist in identifying performance degradation and facilitate a predictive and proactive approach. The technology reports issues such as excessive vibration, pump in hand, risk of cavitation or a dead head, for example, should they start to occur.
The performance management technology for this new generation of single-phase pumps is designed for compatibility with industry-standard BMS, EMS or CMMS solutions. In addition to optimising energy efficiency, access to this level of connectivity can increase pump availability and reliability, reducing unexpected failures and providing early problem detection. Lastly it helps organisations report their energy use and environmental performance. Potential energy savings, with proper application of Active Performance Management, are up to 40%.
The latest generation of single-phase pumps can also help building owners in their ambitions to improve the environmental performance of their sites. The reductions in energy consumption, of course, can improve the site’s carbon footprint. In addition, however, there may be opportunities to reduce embodied carbon. This is an area of increasing interest for owners of building stock as well as for industry bodies such as CIBSE. The low-cost circulators can score poorly in terms of embodied carbon, and can thus affect the value of the building negatively. Securing the efficiency of a building by investing in pumps with greater functionality could protect the owner from legislation and may even provide the possibility for certification, which would obviously be beneficial to the owner.
As time goes on, the case for the lower CAPEX circulators may get worse before it gets better. Continuing with the traditional approach to pump selection has become a gamble on the international energy market. Long term investment in the cutting-edge technology, however, can enable you to take back control of energy and maintenance costs.
For more information on latest pump models for single-phase power applications please visit: www.armstrongfluidtechnology.com