What is an air compressor energy audit?

An energy audit of the compressed air system in your facility can help you determine if there are any problems or possible equipment upgradesā€¦ essentially it covers whatever you need to know.

A compressed air system, when properly set up and maintained, is a very flexible tool for most fabrication shops, garages and factories. It has many applications, from powering pneumatic tools to pressurizing tanks. Like all systems, though it can be expensive to operate depending on how well it is set up and maintained. One way to save money on operating costs of the plant is through improved management practices of compressed air use. A comprehensive review of all aspects associated with the compressed-air system known as an Air Compressor Energy Audit (ACE) provides useful information that can be used to identify ways to conserve compressed air.

A Computed Tomography (CT) scan can result in real-world cost savings and long-range improvements to their compressed air system. A number of issues can be identified by auditors to help users understand how the compressed air system was being operated. Using this information along with data collected from portable test equipment, they can provide recommendations that are expected to save the company thousands of pounds every year.

With any ACE, you should be able to gain an excellent understanding of the actual compressed air usage over a period of time, identify any peaks and valleys in the air demand and help to improve the overall efficiency of the system, which will, in turn, save you time, money and stress.

The quick run-through

It’s a simple review of how your compressor system works and what can be done to optimise usage. An air compressor energy audit (ACE) is an analysis of compressed air systems for the purpose of identifying where they can be made more efficient. The most common areas that auditors check for include:

  • The number and type of machines used on the system; may indicate the need to upgrade some equipment or replace it if appropriate
  • Air leaks; can cause significant pressure and flow loss, leading to wasted time waiting for delivery, as well as higher energy costs if not repaired
  • Air end conditions such as pump wear and tear, valves sticking, etc.
  • System design specifications
  • Frequency of usage
  • Makeup air considerations. The EPA estimates that about 20% of the energy used by industrial plants is for heating, cooling or pressurising fresh outside air so it matches the requirements inside the plant. That means factories are often paying much more than they need to for their compressed air systems because makeup air accounts for 5 – 10% of a system’s total energy consumption
  • Unnecessary downstream equipment in use

An ACE audit includes an online survey where operators answer questions about their factory’s compressed air system. The data collected provides auditors with information on potential savings and the results are presented in detail in a report which offers recommendations on how to realise them.