Wednesday, April 10

Going Green with Variable Speed Drive Controls

Looking to increase energy efficiencies in your compressed air operations? Variable speed drive controls on your compressed air system may be the answer! Read the following blog post to learn how VSDs can be more environmentally friendly and energy efficient…and how they may even qualify you for local energy incentives!

What Is a Variable Speed Drive Air Compressor

Variable speed drive compressors (VSD) can operate between a range of speeds, adjusting to properly match the demand. As demand increases, the motor speeds up; as demand decreases, the motor slows down. VSDs are also known as variable frequency drive (VFD) compressors because they control the frequency supplied to the drive motor that allows it to change speed in response to the current demand. This contrasts with compressors that operate at fixed speeds, meaning they run at the same, maximum speed the entire time, even if demand is lower.


Energy Efficiencies Improved by Variable Speed Air Compressors

Energy savings is the number one benefit boasted from utilizing a VSD. Because VSDs can vary their RPM as demand changes, this means they can also vary their power consumption. Instead of operating at maximum power consumption the entire time, they lower this consumption when demand decreases, thus consuming less energy. Energy can be very costly, so being able to decrease energy consumption when possible, can equate to thousands of dollars saved in the long run. Other related energy efficiency benefits include:

  • Lowered amperage spikes due to soft start/stop control.
  • Consistent plant pressure operating at tighter pressure tolerances.
  • Financial incentive savings offered by local energy organizations.
  • Increased compressor longevity due to efficient operations that allow for less internal stress.

How To Know a VSD Is Right for You

  • Demand fluctuates significantly.
  • Demand varies by shift or seasonality.
  • There are strict tolerances for operating pressure.
  • You have a temperature-controlled environment (VSDs are sensitive to heat and moisture).

Variable Speed vs. Fixed Speed Comparison

Many times, both a VSD and a fixed speed compressor will be used together to achieve optimal efficiency. Many businesses do this by having the VSD be the main lead compressor and keep their fixed speed as a backup. To learn more about different compressor controls, read our blog post, “Compressor Controls Explained.”

Environmental Benefits of Operating Energy Efficient Machines

  • Reduced emissions that help combat climate change.
  • Production of cleaner, healthier air with a reduced carbon footprint.
  • Model eco-friendly standards for other manufacturers.
  • Use less electricity and rely less on fossil fuels.

Your business will also witness other benefits including:

  • Lower operating costs due to less frequent maintenance and lower energy bills.
  • Quieter and safer work environments.
  • Improved public image.
  • Increased system longevity, reliability, and durability.
  • Increased production demand capabilities.

Focus on Energy Incentives for Wisconsin Companies

In Wisconsin, Focus on Energy provides great energy incentives for Zorn customers upgrading to a more energy efficient system. Two qualifying products Zorn Compressor & Equipment supplies are VSD Air Compressors & VSD Vacuum Pumps. For VSD Air Compressors replacing a non-VSD compressor in either a qualifying upgrade or a new construction operating at a minimum of 2,000 hours annually, can earn up to $50 per hp per year in incentives. For VSD vacuum pumps ≤ 30 hp replacing non-VSD vacuum pumps in either a qualifying upgrade or a new construction operating at a minimum of 2,000 hours annually, can earn up to $40 per hp per year if it is a variable torque machine, and up to $35 per hp per year if it is a constant torque machine. Various rules, exclusions, and exceptions may pertain to each unique system. Call Zorn Compressor & Equipment today for any questions or visit Focus on Energy’s website to learn more about compressed air equipment energy incentives.



Zorn is the Midwest leader of custom, engineered compressed air and vacuum solutions. We provide the best customer experience by understanding your applications and needs and offering an unparalleled commitment to customer satisfaction. 

Our comprehensive product and service solutions keep you running 24/7.

  • Reliable equipment
  • Trusted brands
  • Seamless, easy installation
  • Post-sales support
  • Local, 24/7 service

Our compressed air experts look forward to meeting you to discuss your equipment and support needs. Please contact us directly at (262) 695-7000 with any questions or to schedule service for your system moving forward.

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