Look for this new fan energy index in the 2019 ASHRAE/IES 90.1 energy standard to help you choose the right size fans

by Brianna Crandall — August 14, 2019 — When it is published later this quarter, the 2019 edition of ASHRAE/IES 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, will be the first standard, code, or regulation to use the new fan energy index (FEI) as the metric for efficiency provisions for commercial and industrial fans and blowers, according to the Air Movement and Control Association (AMCA) International, a not-for-profit manufacturers association and the developer of the fan energy index.

Determined in accordance with ANSI/AMCA Standard 208-18, Calculation of the Fan Energy Index, which is available for download at no cost in AMCA’s online store throughout 2019, FEI replaces fan efficiency grade (FEG).

Michael Ivanovich, AMCA senior director, global affairs, stated:

This is a landmark development for AMCA, its members, and the fan industry as a whole. FEI will help system designers right-size fans, and it’s easier to apply and enforce than FEG. Because fan performance is highly sensitive to operating conditions, FEI will reduce wasted energy and unnecessary carbon emissions and increase fan service life.

Unlike the fan efficiency grade (FEG), the fan energy index (FEI) considers motors and drives, not just fans, which makes FEI consistent with new efficiency metrics for pumps and air compressors, says AMCA. FEI is the ratio of the electrical input power of a reference fan to the electrical input power of an actual fan at the same duty point (airflow, pressure, and air density). The higher the FEI rating, the more efficient a fan will be for a given duty point. This allows engineers to perform return-on-investment (ROI) analyses for different fan types, sizes, and motor/drive combinations when designing systems.

Aaron Gunzner, AMCA advocacy manager, remarked:

With the adoption of FEI into ASHRAE/IES 90.1, we are optimistic about proposals pending for the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which will have final code-action hearings in October. AMCA will be contacting states that have codes or are considering efficiency provisions using FEG and encouraging them to replace FEG language with the ASHRAE or IECC language. This will harmonize fan-efficiency metrics nationwide and ease the application and compliance burdens posed by FEG.

AMCA Principal Engineer Tim Mathson, the primary developer of FEI, pointed out:

FEI is a new metric, so the industry has a learning curve for applying it. With this in mind, AMCA collaborated with Productive Energy Solutions to develop professional-development-hour-eligible introductory and engineering-level online courses on FEI.

For links to the training, as well as a host of other FEI-related resources, visit AMCA’s FEI microsite. To view a recording of AMCA’s July 31 webinar, Fan Energy Index (FEI) — Changing Our Industry, visit the AMCA Education Program webpage.