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How Your Air Filtration Strategy Impacts Energy Efficiency

Strategy

By:   |   03.28.13

Did you know that 40 percent of the energy used by commercial buildings goes to ventilation and space heating/cooling? That’s why commercial building owners and operators continue to look for ways to increase the energy efficiency of HVAC systems. The energy used by HVAC systems is based on the resistance of the air passing through the system’s air filters. So, the lower the filter’s resistance, the lower the energy consumed by the system’s motor.  

Modern mechano-electret filter media provide a lower resistance to airflow while maintaining high-particle capture efficiencies. Filters made using this type of media almost always outperform filters that rely solely on mechanical efficiency. Maximizing filtration efficiency while minimizing pressure drop allows building operators to reap the largest value for their organization by helping to achieve good IAQ, reduce equipment maintenance, and lower energy costs.

Proper installation and maintenance of air filters is also important for realizing maximum energy efficiency. During filter installation the goal is to avoid bypass air, which causes contamination in housings, coils, fans and ducts, thus increasing operating costs through inefficient operation and increased maintenance. Bypass can occur when filter media is not properly sealed in the filter frame, when filters are not properly installed and gasketed in filter racks, or when air handler doors and ducts are not properly sealed.

Delaying filter maintenance increases energy consumption and increases CO2 emissions. As a filter loads up with particles, it becomes more efficient at particle removal, but increases pressure drop through the system, thus reducing air flow while consuming more energy.  Delayed filter maintenance is extremely costly for building owners and operators and the environment

In addition to increasing your building’s energy efficiency, the proper HVAC air filtration system and strategy can help contribute to the completion of LEED-EB: O&M (Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance) prerequisites and credits.

If you’re not sure of the impact of your filter’s airflow resistance on HVAC system energy costs you can use a tool such as Kimberly-Clark’s Energy Analysis Calculator to find out. 

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