October 11, 2013

Boston, MA—Three years ago CEE identified an unusual opportunity to advance the interests of its members and their industrial programs through high efficiency industrial blowers and packaged blower systems. CEE members participating in the CEE Water and Wastewater Initiative saw that industrial blower manufacturers were claiming large energy savings from high speed technologies introduced to the American and Canadian market. While member experience installing these blowers in local water treatment plants was encouraging, the lack of an industry accepted energy performance test standard was a real roadblock for CEE and its members to claim savings. Unlike motors, blowers are often custom packaged systems and highly variable depending on the manufacturer and purpose. Without an independent, comprehensive test procedure and equipment performance data to analyze, it is difficult for CEE to have a basis for setting a voluntary performance specification for member programs.

Blower packages in operation. Source: http://www.airandgas.net/Wastewater_Treatment.html Instead of letting the opportunity go by, CEE took the unusual step of convening blower manufacturers at a CEE Industry Partner Meeting. Together, blower manufacturers and CEE members explored the potential benefits to programs and the blower industry of a test procedure for measuring the energy efficiency of blowers. One outcome of the meeting was a list of program considerations for blower efficiency. A few months later the CEE Board of Directors issued a letter to blower manufacturers encouraging them to move forward with test procedure development that took into consideration the provisions identified during the Industry Partner meeting. While CEE could not commit program support based on a test procedure, it noted that industry accepted testing and performance data are fundamental to program industry consideration and support in the future.

Blower manufacturers heard the CEE call to action and came together through the Compressed Air and Gas Institute (CAGI) to develop what is now known as CAGI BL 5389. Since its release at the October 2013 WEFTEC meeting in Chicago, the draft test standard has been available from the CAGI website. The final version is expected to be available by spring 2014.

The test procedure, which covers five blower tyes and multiple components, provides an important basis for blower manufacturers to provide standard reporting on credible and comparable energy performance. Once blower manufacturers provide energy performance data through CAGI data sheets, program administrators, engineers, and customers will have a basis for comparing apples to apples as far as the energy efficiency of blowers is concerned. 

Compressed Air & Gas Institute logo. Source: CAGI

Hats off to CAGI!

Now is the time to explore what the program industry can do with the data that manufacturers provide from the test procedure. The hope is to advance program industry objectives, including assessing the opportunity for a blower performance specification.

About CEE
CEE is an award-winning consortium of efficiency program administrators from the United States and Canada. Members work to unify program approaches across jurisdictions to increase the success of efficiency in markets. By joining forces at CEE, individual electric and gas efficiency programs are able to partner not only with each other, but also with other industries, trade associations, and government agencies. Working together, administrators leverage the effect of their ratepayer funding, exchange information on successful practices and, by doing so, achieve greater energy efficiency for the public good.