EC Fans

Retrofit your old fans with new, energy-efficient EC fans

How to save 50% on energy and maintenance costs – and enjoy quieter operation

Fans are used in most commercial and industrial sites – for heating, air conditioning, ventilation, refrigeration or anywhere that air is handled. They are especially vital where a specific temperature needs to be maintained, such as in telecommunication or data centres and anywhere that food is processed and stored, but every building contains numerous fans.

What are EC fans?
Over thirty years ago, European companies started developing more energy efficient fans, using EC technology, and other features. The result was a fan that was often a fraction of the size of existing fans, used at least 30% less energy, didn’t require belts, and required almost no maintenance over its lifetime.

What is EC technology?
EC stands for ‘Electronically Commutated’ or ‘electronic commutation’.
Internal electronics and permanent magnets enable EC fans to convert their AC mains supply to DC – an inherently more efficient form of energy for running a fan or motor. This not only uses less electricity overall, but also reduces heat losses, helping the equipment last longer. For more information, see the website of the world’s leading EC fan manufacturer: emb-papst.

What makes EC Fans so energy efficient?
EC fans are more energy efficient than existing belt-and-pulley driven fans due to their:

  • DC-operated motors, with their own internal electronics to transform their AC mains supply to DC.
  • New blade designs that can move a larger volume of air per unit of energy.
  • In-built electronic controls that enable the fan speed to be matched with the load requirements, therefore only using energy when it’s needed. (These controls are easily integrated into your PLC (e.g. SCADA)/BMS (via digital RS485/MODBUS or analogue 0-10V/4-20mA), enabling remote control of your EC fans.)
  • No belts or pulleys means no mis-alignment or belt slippage, thereby saving a minimum 15% in energy by removing friction losses. It also means no belt dust in your air supply which is particularly important for data centres and hospitals.
  • Up to 10 years maintenance-free - 100,000 maintenance-free run hours.

Out Performers have partnered with ebm-papst of Germany, the world's leading manufacturer of EC fan retrofit solutions and our installation service is headed by Phil Goodfellow from our Victorian office. Phil has retrofitted over 36,000 EC fans throughout the UK and Europe and claims he is yet to meet a fan that he can't retrofit.

We offer a full turn-key solution for EC fan retrofits:

1. Site audit to identify all existing fans and baseline your current fans’ operating costs.
2. Design an EC Fan replacement program and prepare a full business case for approval.
3. Turn-key installation with an Energy Savings Guarantee so you ensure you achieve approved business case outcomes.
4. Energy Savings Certificates can be created to offset project costs.

So if you want to reduce fan energy and maintenance costs, ask us for a business case you can consider. Phone Phil Goodfellow on 03 9521 9821 in our Melbourne office.

Typical example of an EC fan retrofit

A data centre replaced all the belt- and pulley-driven fans in their computer room air conditioning units with EC fans.

Capital cost: $200,000 per site
Savings: 50% in energy and maintenance savings (expected maintenance savings from 100,000 maintenance-free run hours per fan.)
Payback on investment: Less than 2.5 years.

The photos below show an EC fan retrofit: the first photo shows three new EC fans with in-built motors, while the second photo shows the old belt- and pulley-fans, each with a green, external motor. The third photo shows the cabinet where the computer room air conditioning units are located.

Figure 1. After the retro-fit: New EC fans retro-fitted into compartments that previously housed the old belt- and pulley-fans (refer to the photo below).


Figure 2. Before the retrofit: The same compartments with the old belt- and pulley-fans (refer to the photo below).



Figure 3. Computer Room Air Conditioning Units (CRACs) – this is how the CRACs look like most of the time, when the compartment doors are closed (refer to the photo below).



Videos of EC fan projects

Learn more about EC fans from these videos from ebm-papst, a leading EC fan manufacturer.

1. About EC fans and motors  (2:26)


2. EC plug fans in air-conditioning units, saving 50% energy at 80% speeds  (5:39)


3. Fan efficiency:  Comparing EC fans vs an AC fan with a VSD  (3:25)


4. Backward-curved fans - more performance for less power  (4:07)


5. Refurbishment of ventilation systems with EC fans

    AHU fan upgrades or retrofits can now be easily done
    - see how to retrofit EC fans into your existing AHU or ventilation system.  (2:51)