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4  FM quick reads on Motors

1. Replace Oversized Motors To Reduce HVAC Energy Use

Today's tip from Building Operating Management comes from James Piper, contributing editor to Building Operating Management and Maintenance Solutions magazines: Replace oversize motors to reduce HVAC energy use.

Commercial and institutional facilities typically have many more motors operating in their HVAC systems than most managers realize. Because these motors use so much energy, they offer great opportunities to make a significant impact on facility energy use.

By far the leading cause of energy inefficiency with HVAC system motors is a mismatch between the motor's rated horsepower and the load it is driving. Most HVAC system motors are induction motors.

While these motors are efficient and reliable, their efficiency, like building chillers, drops off significantly when they operate under part-load conditions. By properly matching motor horsepower to system load requirements, managers can achieve major energy savings.

Achieving this goal requires that managers conduct a survey on HVAC system motors to identify those that are significantly oversized for the application. The goal of the process is to develop a comprehensive list of applications that use motors, including information on the motor horsepower, the load it is driving, and the age and rated efficiency of the motor.

The focus should be on motors that are oversized or have exceeded their operating life expectancies.

Replacing older, oversized motors with properly sized ones offers two benefits. First, matching the motor horsepower to the actual load improves the operating efficiency of the system.

Second, changes in motor design have resulted in a generation of motors that have operating efficiencies 2-8 percent higher than older, standard motors. Coupled with the improved operating efficiency that comes from matching the motor horsepower to the load, the improvement in efficiency can provide a relatively quick payback for managers and facilities.

This has been a Building Operating Management Tip of the Day. Thanks for listening.

2.  Improving Motor Efficiency

I'm Steve Schuster, associate editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is motor efficiency.

Motors and the loads they drive represent some of the largest users of electricity in commercial and institutional facilities. Because motors are such high users of energy, they present a tremendous opportunity for maintenance and engineering managers to reduce energy use and cost through improved motor efficiency.

Much has happened recently that gives managers tools to improve motor efficiency. The federal government has developed energy standards that manufacturers must meet for the types of motors commonly found in a facility's energy-using systems. Replacing standard-efficiency motors with high-efficiency motors will reduce the energy requirements for that motor by about 2-8 percent. While that might not seem like a major improvement, depending on the horsepower of the motor and the number of hours it operates annually, the energy savings can be significant.

All of these energy-efficiency improvements come at a cost, however. The typical high-efficiency motor typically costs 10-15 percent more than the standard-efficiency motor it replaces. Premium-efficiency motors cost even more. But to help offset this increased cost and provide managers with the incentive to upgrade to more efficient motors, some utilities offer rebates and other incentives that can be as high as $50 per horsepower (hp).

Managers should evaluate their options based on the particular application. The amount of money they can save will depend not only on an improvement in operating efficiency but also on local utility rates and the annual number of hours of operation for that particular motor.

3.  Bird Control Application Considerations

I'm Steve Schuster, associate editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is bird control.

Few problems facing grounds managers in institutional facilities are as vexing — and potentially costly — as bird control. Birds come in a range of sizes, do varying degrees of damage to landscapes and facilities all year round, and can be maddening to truly control.

The rise of sustainability has added a layer of complexity to this challenge. In addition to weighing the cost and performance of any potential solution, managers also need to consider the product's impact on the birds and the larger environment.

Managers looking for strategies and products to control birds in and around their facilities must first consider the potential threat the birds pose to human health.

While health and safety get a great deal of attention in discussions of bird control, managers also know that birds can be a major threat to the buildings on their landscapes.

Such problems turn into major scheduling, workload and cost challenges for managers and their departments. The one element of bird control that managers probably gave little consideration to a decade ago is sustainability. Now, the impact of bird-control products on the environment is a high priority.

Given the evolution of products designed to address bird-control problems humanely, cost-effectively, and sustainably, managers should consider working closely with manufacturers to understand products' benefits and limitations and to ensure they specify the most effective product for their problem.

4.  Optimize the Life Cycle of Motors and Drives

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is specification strategies for motors.

The complexity of motor specifications might lead managers to unknowingly compromise energy efficiency by installing a replacement unit that is not designed for the job. For this reason, managers need complete information and critical spares before the need arises. This tactic will help managers avoid possible mistakes and expedite the installation. Also, ensuring the vendor maintains an inventory of critical motors and drives for quick delivery saves space in the facility's storeroom and reduces inventory costs.

Managers can optimize the life cycle of a motor or drive by following a few basic rules:

• Make sure the motor or drive is the right size for the application by having the component's nameplate information and involving the vendor in recommending solutions.

• Implement an inspection program that incorporates regular PM inspections, including visual, audible, and heat checks.

• Keep equipment and drives clean, dry, and tightly sealed.

• Establish a preventive or predictive program that includes cleaning and lubrication at regular intervals, oil analysis of gearboxes to check for wear particles, thermal imaging for electrical and mechanical hot spots, and vibration analysis.

By following these rules, managers will be able to identify problem equipment early. And if technicians perform indicated repair and replacement in a timely way during regularly scheduled shutdowns, then unscheduled downtime, maintenance time, and inventory costs will decrease, and energy efficiency will increase.


Motors , HVAC , energy consumption

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