© 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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