A compressed air system audit is the most thorough way that you can improve the entire compressed air system within your facility. A team of experienced professionals will comb through your system and make a series of measurements and recommendations, providing a list of improvements that you can make designed to improve efficiency.
This is crucial because as much as 10 percent of all electricity in the US comes from compressed air, according to the Department of Energy. As much as 50 percent of that compressed air energy output is waste, according to the same report. One simple leak in your compressed air system could amount to wasting 20-30 percent of your compressor’s total output. An audit can provide a blueprint for how to operate in a more efficient manner.
The Importance of a Compressed Air System Audit
A compressed air system audit is your way to determine how much of your output is wasted. It’s designed to help you pinpoint inefficiencies so that they can fixed and save your organization money in long-term operational costs.
Following audit recommendations can pay for itself over an extended period of time. Some of the common recommendations stemming from an audit might include:
- Plug previously undiscovered leaks
- Stop over-pressurization within the system
- Examine air requirements
- Replace bad piping
- Stop obsolete restrictions
- Insufficient system storage
- Inappropriate usage
- Monitoring system pumps
- Improve system maintenance
When you are able to comply with these and other recommendations stemming from the audit, your business may become eligible for several potential energy rebates, saving you further money in utility costs. There are 91 potential rebates for Illinois customers.
The Steps Involved in an Audit
It’s important to understand what’s involved in an audit. If you commit to an audit at your facility to try and regain some of your compressed air efficiencies, below are some of the main steps that a team of experts would take:
- A Site Survey – The purpose of this step is to obtain a complete list of all equipment that is part of the compressed air system in a given facility. This is a basic step that is completed so that there’s a firm understanding of what needs to be measured. For example, they may list the type of compressor (make and model), storage, air dryer, all piping located within the facility and anything else related to the system.
- Measuring Output – The audit team will place measurement devices throughout the compressed air system to understand KW output versus cubic feet per minute. This gives a more complete picture of system output. The period of measurement will include peak times, as well as non-peak times, to get an idea of the total flow.
- Evaluating System Dynamics – This includes the analysis of data collected to this point, with areas of improvement to be identified. It involves looking at all of the compressed air users within a facility to determine if compressed air is necessary for given applications.
- Implementing Recommendations for Improved Output – The fact remains that there is no linear relationship between compressed air use and power consumption. Leaks and other inefficiencies come into play. The recommendations that the audit team makes are designed to bring power consumption and efficient compressed air usage more into line. This may include eliminating inappropriate uses of compressed air, fixing leaks, or upgrading inefficient equipment. It can also include any of the common findings listed above to improve system efficiencies.
- Performance Verification – A post-operation assessment allows your organization to measure the means by which the compressed air system audit may pay for itself. When you can determine improved efficiency and decreased output, you can determine the level of energy spending.
When you comply with the changes and show measurable reductions in energy usage, you save on utility cost, and may be eligible for energy rebates.
Find Out How You Can Save
The main goal of any compressed air system audit is to determine a pathway for improving energy output versus system efficiency. This is most easily measured with the KW/100 cfm measurement formula.
Adding a variable frequency drive can allow you more direct controls over your compressed air usage, for example. It can allow you to produce at the lowest acceptable pressure, saving your organization on unneeded air. Implementing the audit team’s recommendations can also eliminate waste within your compressed air system, and qualify you for the above-mentioned rebates.
While the audit itself may require an investment for your organization, making the recommended implementations can set your company up for an energy-efficient future – saving you money within the near future. Even if you bought the newest, most contemporary system, it can still be improved. chances are the efficiency can be improved.
If you are looking for a compressed air system audit at your facility, or have questions, contact us today!