As vital parts of all buildings and facilities, operating compressed air systems can be expensive. However, by managing them more efficiently, or taking a few proactive steps, a building or facility operator can lower their energy costs and save substantially. Compressed air is used at virtually every facility, whether hospital, apartment complex, factory, college or a university. It supplies power for many different uses and is also widely used industrially. Careful examination of a facility’s compressed air system will likely reveal several opportunities for reducing the plant’s energy draw, and thus result in significant energy savings, lower operating costs, and a minimized negative environmental impact. There are some simple steps that a facility operator can take in order to save on their compressed air systems.


Knowledge of loads


Natural Resources Canada suggests checking out the compressed air system in one’s building or facility since it is the most expensive and sometimes most inefficient utility. Operators need to know the loads and to be checking them regularly since load changes may be a result of leaks or new process requirements. Leaks are a significant source of wasted energy in a compressed air system. Compressed air leaks can also contribute to problems with system operations that may require additional repairs and negatively impact a facility’s operating budget.


Inspecting and maintaining


Regularly inspecting and maintaining the air system and the controls and monitoring equipment will prove to be very advantageous economically (Natural Resources Canada, Pump up compressed air energy savings, 2016). Leak repairs can even save up to 50% of your compressed air annual energy costs. Maintenance can be supported by monitoring using proper instrumentation and use of some of the following devices: pressure gauges on each receiver or main branch line; temperature gauges across the compressor and its cooling system to detect fouling and blockages; and flow metres to measure the quantity of air used (11 Energy-Efficiency Improvement Opportunities, Csanyi, 2015).

Facility operators are encouraged to test their systems during certain periods in order to determine their overall leak rates by observing the air losses form their supply tanks (Compressed air basics, University of Minnesota, 2015). Use of coolest possible intake air, or even outside air will prove to be advantageous when it comes to saving for the use of a facility’s compressed air systems.


Maintaining pressure levels


Facilities should maintain their air pressure at the lowest pressure acceptable or needed in order to operate efficiently. Operators and managers need to identify all of the uses of compressed air in their facilities. Checking the systems pressure and not turning up the pressure to compensate for Queens College, Queens College Building Operator Program, Queens College Toronto, Queens College BOP Program, leaks and drops in pressure can save substantially. Since compressed air systems have relatively expensive operating costs, as previously stated, the minimum quantity of compressed air should be used for the shortest possible time and it should be constantly monitored and reweighed against alternatives. For example, when reducing the pressure or running at required pressures, each two psig reduction cuts energy consumption by one percent (Compressed Air & Gas Institute, 2012). Some buildings and facilities operate at higher working pressures in order to satisfy small high-pressure applications or to compensate for pressure drops from undersized piping.


Knowledge of systems demands and distribution


monitoring computer software            Building operators need to know all of the uses of compressed air in their facilities. The quality of the volume of air used in each application and creating a demand profile, knowledge of equipment specifications for operations that use air are a good resource for obtaining data on air volume rates. An assessment of compressed air use will greatly help in identifying inappropriate uses of air (Air Compressor Energy Saving Tips, University of Minnesota, 2011). Operators will need to stay informed and aware of what their facilities will require in order for their facilities to function at an optimal and efficient level. Monitoring of the distribution systems is also very important at every facility since any problems related to the size, pressure loss, air storage capacity or air leaks will require operators to conduct repairs or hire a contractor which will result in additional operating costs at a facility.

These are only some simple steps that a building or facility operator can take in order to manage their facility more efficiently. In many instances, conducting maintenance and being aware of the demands of one’s facility, being proactive in the steps taken in order to minimize expenses will lead to much more positive results and energy efficient operations of compressed air systems.!prettyPhoto