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Energy Performance: How Do Your Pumps Rate?

Key Points
  • The HI Energy Rating Label helps you determine pump energy performance and estimate savings.
  • Ratings are calculated using Hydraulics Institute and U.S. Department of Energy testing standards.
  • Use the Pumping System Assessment Tool to evaluate efficiency and identify savings opportunities.

More than 25 percent of the electricity used in the United States goes to powering pumps, according to the Hydraulics Institute (HI). To help stem some of that flow, HI collaborated with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and other like-minded organizations to develop the HI Energy Rating (ER) Label.

The ER Label is designed to calculate the energy savings from pump system upgrades. Savings are calculated using a baseline for standard pump performance established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The higher the ER rating, the more efficient the pump. In addition to energy savings, the ER labels includes the pump manufacturer and model number, as well as nominal speed and pump type.

The ER program uses the DOE's efficiency standards for pumps (10 CFR 431 Subpart Y—Pumps), which identifies pump equipment categories and provides energy conservation requirements. Energy ratings are determined by HI-approved laboratories according to test methods specified in HI Standard 40.6, Methods for Rotodynamic Pump Efficiency Testing.

The ER program provides a tool to specify energy-saving pump products for your projects. Use the ER Program Portal to search for pumps tested and rated according to the standard.

Pumping up the savings

A number of design upgrades and operational strategies are available to help improve pump system efficiency:

  • Match pump size to load. Evaluate pumping requirements and reduce pump size (if possible) to better match system needs. Install parallel systems for variable loads so that excess capacity can be turned off.
  • Reduce overall system requirements. Equalize flow over the production cycle using holding tanks. Also, eliminate bypass loops and other unnecessary flows.
  • Control pump speed. Reduce speed for fixed loads—trim impeller or lower gear ratios. For highly variable loads, variable frequency drive (VFD) installations show savings of between 30 to 80 percent.
  • Operating and maintenance practices. Replace worn impellers, especially in semi-solid applications. Inspect and repair bearings, lip seals, packing and other seals.

Additional measures for reducing energy use include adjusting the system flow paths; trimming the pump impeller; and adding a gear reducer and two-speed motor to the existing pump system.

The Pumping System Assessment Tool (PSAT)—a free software tool available online from the DOE—is designed to assess the efficiency of system operations. PSAT identifies energy-saving opportunities in pumping systems and quantifies those opportunities in both dollars and electrical energy savings.

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