Systems approach

The Performance Optimization Program promotes a systems approach rather than a component approach when projects are evaluated for energy efficiency. A systems approach recognizes that opportunities for energy savings occur in both the supply side (equipment and controls) and the demand side (distribution network and end uses) of a system. In many applications, the majority of energy savings are realized in the demand side of the system.

The step-by-step evaluation of a system is conducted with the objective of identifying practical, economic measures that satisfy operational requirements and minimize energy input. For each area of the system, current conditions and operating parameters must be established and energy savings opportunities must be identified and evaluated. Viable options will then be implemented.

Techniques and measures that can be used to improve energy efficiency in each area include:

End use

Eliminate poor or inefficient use of compressed air, water, ventilation air, etc. such as excessive consumption, leaks, open blowing for cooling or cleaning, end uses with higher pressure than necessary, re-circulation and bypass loops, and inefficient pneumatic tools.

Distribution network

Implement measures that reduce flow resistance such as increasing pipe or duct diameter, streamlining pipe or duct layouts, increasing system storage capacity, and introducing controls to isolate pipe or duct sections when not in use.

Supply equipment

Select equipment that operates at higher efficiency by upgrading or resizing, use of pony pumps or booster fans, and impeller trimming.


Adopt measures that provide automatic control of equipment to sequence or stop equipment when it is not required, or, measures that permit flow control by speed adjustment rather than by throttle valves or dampers.