Choosing Efficient Equipment for Your Water Treatment Facility
Like many companies, municipal water treatment facilities today are being asked to do what they can to reduce unnecessary expenses. There are a lot of ways you might be trying to “do more with less”, and one great option is to think about how you can get the most efficient equipment for water treatment. Even if your current equipment isn’t necessarily broken, it can be worthwhile to spend some money on retrofitting your existing equipment so you get the lowest-cost and best equipment possible.
The overall efficient of your water treatment facility is often reliant on having an efficient pump. They work closely with the motor, but efficiency in pumps is often dependent on the other supplies in the system. Perhaps the most important factor is to find a pump that is the correct size according to your usage requirements—the most common mistake made is that people overestimate their needs and purchase a pump with too much capacity that uses excess energy. Other common problems include choosing the wrong components or system designs that contribute to drops in pressure.
The variable frequency drive (VFD) works to adjust the speed of the motor, fan, or blower on a pump to account for all the fluctuations in demand. Running your motors at full capacity when there is lower demand leads to wasted energy, but turning them on and off can also be detrimental. VFDs help keep motors running at the correct level to reduce unnecessary stress on the components, saving as much as 20% or more on electricity. Initial costs can be high, but the payback period is often relatively low.
Equally important to an efficient pump is an efficient motor, as these two things often account for as much as 80% or more of the energy used at the facility. An energy efficient motor that is anywhere from 2% to 8% more efficient might not seem like that big of a deal, but since it is subject to less vibration, lower heat output, and has better insulation it can often last much longer than a traditional motor before it fails. However, the cost of replacing a motor can be high, so the return for installing a more energy-efficient version is really only recommended in situations where the motor is being used more than 8,000 hours a year. Motors being used 4,000 to 8,000 hours a year could be replaced with more efficient ones when they fail; for those used fewer than 4,000 hours a year, it might be more cost-effective to simply rewind it.
Finding more energy efficient options for your water treatment facility equipment is important for cities and municipalities who want to show their commitment to proper stewardship of tax dollars, and want to reduce both financial and environmental costs.