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Posted by on Oct 2015 in All Stories | 0 comments

Save gas and electricity by optimizing your air speed

balconiesThis post is sponsored by Union Gas.

If you own or manage a commercial apartment building in Ontario, you are required to have a Make-Up Air (MUA) system running 24 hours per day. Fresh air from the MUA system is introduced into the common areas of the building (hallways, entrances, etc), while stale air is exhausted from kitchen and bathroom fans within the individual apartments. This pressurizes the hallways, introduces fresh air for tenants and satisfies fire regulations for smoke control.

MUA equipment uses natural gas in the winter to heat the air, and electricity all year round as the fans run continuously. While the regulations state that air must be introduced 24 hours per day, there is no requirement for your fans to run full speed for all of those 24 hours. This becomes an opportunity for energy savings!

At certain times of the day, you can reduce the running speed of your system, as very little air is actually being exhausted from the building. Midnight to 6:00 a.m. in most buildings might require only 25 per cent capacity and still introduce enough fresh air to satisfy the requirements. Other time periods like mid-morning, mid-afternoon and late evening could require only 50 per cent capacity. Running your system at 100 per cent capacity when it is not required wastes energy.

One customer with six small apartment buildings had his local electrician take out the standard single speed motors and install new motors with VFD capability in their place. The cost of all six installations totalled $29,000. Because of the gas savings, this customer received an incentive from the Union Gas Affordable Housing Program equal to half of the cost, or $14,500. This customer is saving 45,000 m³ of gas per year, or about $9,000 per year in natural gas at current prices. In less than two years, the entire cost of the installation will be paid back. Additionally, this project was eligible for an extra rebate from the electric utility.

Your MUA system could be suitable for the installation of a VFD motor to reduce energy usage. Contact Union Gas to find out more about the available incentives!

For more information about the Union Gas Affordable Housing Incentive Program, click here:

To contact a Union Gas Commercial Account Manager, click here:

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