Monitoring Environmental Performance
Level 5
Appendix 9
Energy Improvement: Key Areas

Compressed Air

Air intake

  • Air should be taken in from outside the building as it is colder and thus the compressor will work more efficiently. The inlet should be protected from extreme temperature and weather conditions, on a north wall. The ducting from the air intake and the compressor should be as short and straight as possible, and the diameter as large as possible.

Distribution networks

  • Ring mains are the best and most efficient systems, and designed for a maximum pressure drop of 0.1 to 0.2 bar at points of use at maximum demand. Air receivers can be installed for short periods of high demand.

  • The system should be zoned using isolation valves (electronically controlled isolation valves are preferable to manually operated valves).

Compressor sizing

  • Compressors should be sized in order for capacity to match demand for compressed air.

  • Different sizes of compressors should be used for installations with multiple compressors.


  • Make regular checks on compressed air use.

  • Train shop floor personnel in leak detection.

  • Fix all leaks promptly.

  • Investigate leaks during quiet periods / shutdown.

  • Tag all leaks.

  • Isolate machinery that is leak prone.

  • Get rid of redundant pipework.

Heat recovery

  • Heat can be recovered by ducting the air outlet into the factory during winter and outside in summer.