Advantages of VFD's
Advantages of VFD's
March • 2013
Unexpected Advantages of Variable Frequency Drives
Variable-Frequency Drives, or VFDs, continue to evolve and become a more efficient, affordable, and accessible choice to add in to HVAC or other motor-driven devices. Not only do VFDs provide desirable energy savings, they offer other benefits as well - one of which may be incentives offered to facilities that choose to include VFDs in their equipment operation. Be sure to conduct research on potential incentives ahead of making a purchasing decision, to ensure your eligibility will be intact.
Naturally, having the ability to vary the speed, voltage, and frequency of a motor cannot help but result in potentially significant energy savings. But additional potential benefits should not be overlooked. Equipment life can be extended, and maintenance frequency reduced, by using a VFD to effect a soft start, or to ramp up and down.
And since information is always power, using the ample data that can be pulled off of the drive is another powerful advantage. A facility manager could utilize that diagnostic data, and the resulting estimate of power consumed, for measurement and verification purposes.
Additionally, in the realm of fault detection and diagnostics, a VFD could be used to monitor system performance through the creation of rules that would detect anomalies in parameters such as speed, power, and delivered volume. All of this information can be used to make powerful decisions and changes to improve overall performance numbers.
In the not-too-distant past, the thought of connecting a VFD to a building’s automation system could be a deal-breaker. The expense - and hassle - of upgrading to an Ethernet or serial port may have been a deal-breaker when a facility weighed this option against the energy savings provided. These days, however, the ports are, more often than not, included with the purchase of the VFD itself. It’s another reason more and more locations are including VFDs for their HVAC or other facility needs.
Due to their energy-savings properties, VFD purchases will often make the operation acquiring them eligible for incentives from local utility providers. Be sure to investigate the existence of such incentives as part of your overall research, so you understand the requirements of eligibility of any incentive programs before you begin the purchasing process. Otherwise, you run the risk of not qualifying based on where you are in the decision-making process.
Integrating VFDs into your operation’s equipment comes with a number of advantages, above and beyond the expected energy savings. And as suppliers and utilities continue to make this option more and more attractive and accessible, both financially and logistically, it warrants a close look from facility managers and chief engineers everywhere.