© Photo | ebm-papst

Upgrade with a happy end

How three faulty AC fans launched an extensive retrofit at a Danish cinema chain.

Stine Nørregaard Olesen faced a demanding week at the start of the new energy-saving era at the Danish cinema chain Nordisk Film. Three AC motors in the air conditioning system at the cinema in Odense failed in quick succession, confronting her with a difficult decision to make as the chain’s project engineer. “The fastest and simplest solution would have been to install new motors of the same type and continue as before. But then my technical consultant Brian Lund Nielsen and I began to look into what better solutions there were in terms of investment and operating costs,” recalls Nørregaard Olesen.


The first upgrades were performed on especially old systems like the one in Copenhagen.

A promising option came from Jens Hedegaard, a salesman at ebm-papst in Denmark. He suggested replacing all AC fans in the air conditioning system with EC products. “The most important selling points in the discussions were the considerably lower energy consumption, the high efficiency and the much lower maintenance requirements of EC fans.” Management at Nordisk Film reacted favorably and decided to make the retrofit at the cinema in Odense a pilot project. In a very short time, the eight AC fans there were replaced with EC fans. The costs for the retrofit amounted to about 18,400 euros.

Successful pilot project

Thanks to the upgrade, the cinema in Odense saves 18,800 euros annually in energy costs; the costs of the upgrade were already amortized within the first year. And thanks to this good result, Nørregaard Olesen and her colleagues decided to upgrade other cinemas to EC technology. The first upgrades were performed on especially old systems like the one in Copenhagen. For that retrofit alone, 18 fans were replaced and the location now saves nearly 30,000 euros per year – about 8,000 more than originally estimated.

Thanks to the retrofit at eight locations, Nordisk Film was able to reduce its annual CO2 emissions by 296.8 tons.

Meanwhile, Nordisk Film has upgraded a total of eight locations from AC to EC technology, with more to follow. Stine Nørregaard Olesen is very pleased, saying “We never had savings of this magnitude before. But the best thing is that the retrofit was so simple and fast. In each cinema, the work took only a few weeks: Out with the old fans, in with the new ones, flip the switch and there you go.”

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