Recycle Less, Save Money...wait, what??!!
Returning Air to Your Factory
Intriguing paradoxes exist in our world, seemingly counterintuitive, yet logically sound. One such paradox involves the concept of 'returning air' or recycling air in your factory. It might seem like a straightforward process, but it's layered with complexities. If your dust collector is 'extracting’ air from your workspace, the solutions to replace it could be:
Keep the doors open
Use fans to blow air back into the factory
Simply ignore it!
While these strategies might work under normal circumstances, they fail to deliver during extreme hot or cold temperatures. When you decide to control the climate for the comfort of your employees, process, or product, you encounter a new set of challenges. You must:
Determine how to replace the extracted air volume in real-time.
Decide on the cleanliness level of the returning air.
Choose the preferred temperature of the returning air.
Remember that air return is possible if the air is clean and your filters are appropriately designed and maintained. However, it's essential to note that not all industrial processes permit air return due to potential health risks.
Unlocking HVAC Savings
Once you opt for 'returning air', you've likely conducted an HVAC analysis and identified the potential savings. By returning the air extracted by your dust collector, you can save money! Picture this: the outside air is 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and the treated air inside your factory is 68 degrees Fahrenheit - that's 48 degrees you have to pay to heat or cool your workspace. Running your collection fans at 100% (or 60 Hz) pulls a significant amount of treated air from your factory - the air you've "paid" to condition!
Now, analyze the cost to heat/cool the air by cubic feet and compare that to the volume of air extracted and re-treated. This seemingly simple math can reveal substantial savings. Your "recycled" air thus saves you money. On average, you might only need to re-treat the returned air by 11 degrees instead of 48, which translates to significant savings.
The Optimization Strategy
The next logical question might be, "If I can save 'x' by returning 'y' volume of air, how can I reduce the 'y' volume of air extracted to further optimize my return air system?" This is where Ecogate comes in, potentially doubling your HVAC savings by adjusting the required volume of extracted air based on the Active Utilization of your workstations. Imagine only having to re-treat the volume of air you expected! Moreover, with Ecogate installed, you can save an average of 68% of your dust extraction-related energy consumption. This two-pronged savings approach is worth considering!
While this blog contains several 'assumptions', you can see these concepts in action in our related blog post.
Author: Matthew "Mateo" Rodriguez