Energy Saving Proof is on the Way

Hvac System Cleaning

Energy Saving Proof is on the Way

We all know there is a relationship between a well maintained HVAC system, the pressure drop and energy savings, but we haven’t had the scientific proof to show our customers.

I am pleased to announce that the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) has engaged a team of researchers from the University of Colorado to undertake a two-year study titled “The Correlation between HVAC System Pressure Drop and Energy Savings.” This project was started in February 2008 and will run through January 2010.

The purpose is to develop a relatively simple method for field technicians to estimate the energy savings that can be attained through HVAC maintenance and restoration and publish the results of the research to generate greater awareness of the energy-saving benefits of HVAC maintenance and restoration.

The research study will be carried out in a collaborative effort with faculty members of the Building Systems Program – Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, at the University of Colorado. Both Professor John Zhai, Ph.D. and Professor Moncref Krarit, Ph.D., P.E., have done extensive research for the US Department of Energy and are considered experts in the field of HVAC energy consumption.

According to Prof. Zhai,:

  • Among various HVAC system problems, dust accumulation can cause a dramatic reduction in supply air.
    • Studies indicate that reduction of system pressure drop offers the greatest potential for energy savings in a ventilation system (e.g. estimated 30 to 65% potential ventilation energy savings).
    • Experience shows that dirt accumulation in HVAC systems will result in significant pressure reduction and thus require extra fan power and energy consumption.
    • To date, no scientific evaluation based on rigorous and verifiable analysis is available to quantify the influence of HVAC pressure drop on system energy usage.

This research project will be the first study of it’s kind to verify the energy savings associated with system pressure drop and the first scientific study performed that will verify the services our members perform will positively affect HVAC systems by reducing energy consumption!

The researchers from the University of Colorado will use two advanced experiment and simulation labs:

  • The Larson Building Systems Lab – Unique facility, permits the study of entire HVAC systems and full-scale test rooms in a controlled, dynamic environment; Consists of a full-size commercial HVAC system with four zones.
    • The Advanced Building and Environment Simulation Technology Lab – Designed for real-time data monitoring. Set up for climate analysis, building energy simulation, airflow and contaminant transport modeling, etc. Used for computer simulation

This research will be conducted in four phases, over a period of two years:

  • Computer Simulation Analysis (6 month) • Lab Experimental Analysis (6 months)
    • Field Monitoring Analysis (1 year)
    • Guidelines and Analysis for Post-project Field Tests (optional)

Project Deliverables and main objectives include:

  • A complete set of data modeling and experimental data; • A final written report, with complete research details;
    • A testing protocol for use to measure pressure drop and demonstrate energy savings attributed to increased airflow (i.e., increased pressure) resulting from system maintenance and restoration;
    • The project team will disseminate the project findings, in conference papers, professional magazines, and journal articles, to building energy and system researchers and professionals in the field.
    • A practical engineering tool that combines the established correlations and the testing protocol into an easy-to-use spreadsheet program, which will allow field engineers to quickly estimate energy savings associated with system restoration;

Once the study is completed, training programs on how to take the measurements and use the energy calculators will be developed.

This is the biggest and most exciting project that NADCA has ever undertaken.

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