The Role of Modern Air Compressors in Environmental Sustainability

Sustainability has become a pressing concern for companies in recent years. As a business owner, you may wonder how to contribute to a cleaner environment while operating a successful enterprise.

You may not realize it, but your old, outdated, or underutilized compressor could cost you a lot of money. Compressor manufacturers have become increasingly concerned about energy savings and environmental repercussions, and technology has advanced greatly in combining cost savings with sustainability. With government regulations tightening and consumers demanding more sustainable practices, businesses can no longer afford to ignore problems with their current systems.

This blog will explore how modern air compressors can help you conserve energy, build in sustainable safeguards, and even improve your bottom line.

The Power of Variable Speed Drives (VSD)

Variable Speed Drives (VSD) are a game-changer for energy savings. Traditional air compressors operate at a constant speed and consume a fixed amount of energy regardless of the workload. Also referred to as Variable Frequency Drives, VSDs adjust the compressor’s motor speed and torque to air demand, resulting in substantial energy savings. The basic principle behind a VSD is to regulate the energy flow from the electrical supply to the motor by sitting between them.

By precisely matching output to demand, VSDs prevent compressors from running at full capacity when necessary. By supplying just the right amount of compressed air to do the job and no more, using a variable speed compressor can easily save 25% on energy costs. Regulating motor speed also reduces wear and tear on compressor components, which can extend equipment life and reduce maintenance costs. Finally, many drives run automated controls and do not require manual labor to adjust compressor speed.

Is a variable speed drive right for your business?

It depends.

Many industries benefit from VSDs’ long-term cost savings. However, if your air compressor experiences very high or low fluctuations, it may not be the best option. Industries that experience long periods of downtime will turn their compressor into a start/stop machine, effectively trading energy savings for energy usage in a wash.

Our team at Air Handling Equipment has been working with compressed air systems for over 40 years. We’ll recommend the best options for your current systems and be straightforward about when to upgrade to more modern technology. Ask about our Energy Audits services, where we offer a variety of solutions to gather data, analyze, and report on energy consumption. These solutions provide transparency toward energy saving opportunities best suited for you. We know every penny counts and aim to pass on as many cost savings as possible to our customers. Checkout our Gardner Denver LRS and EnviroAire Product Line brochures covering additional features and benefits for our oil lubricated and oil free variable speed compressor product lines.

Heat Recovery

Heat recovery from air compressors involves capturing and utilizing the waste heat generated during the compression process. In industrial air compressor systems, a significant amount of electrical energy used (up to 96%) is converted into heat. The excess heat can be harnessed and repurposed for other applications within a facility.

Here are some key ways that an air compressor’s heat recovery unit can benefit the environment:

  • Heat generated during the compression process can be recycled into your facility to help heat your facility during the colder months, reducing your facility’s HVAC workload and your energy bills.
  • Recovering heat during the warm months has benefits as well. By maintaining proper ambient conditions your compressed air equipment will operate at a higher efficiency, resulting in an extended equipment lifecycle and lower cost to maintain.
  • This energy can be harnessed to provide process water heating.
  • By capturing waste heat, you reduce the overall carbon footprint throughout your facility.

Checkout our Ultima brochure detailing the innovative and patented closed package cooling system that allows for the collection and recovery of up to 98% of the heat.

Air Leak Detection

Early air compressor leak detection plays a crucial role in reducing energy waste, minimizing carbon emissions, and enhancing operational efficiency. When air leaks occur in compressed air systems, a significant amount of energy is wasted as the system works harder to compensate for the lost air. Wasted energy leads to increased operational costs and contributes to higher carbon emissions. Detecting and addressing air leaks promptly through leak detection programs can help mitigate these environmental impacts.

Additionally, addressing air leaks in compressed air systems can optimize system efficiency and prolong equipment longevity. By preventing or fixing leaks, businesses can conserve energy, lower costs, and enhance their overall environmental performance. Leak detection programs have been shown to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption significantly.

Air Handling Equipment partners with Sonotec to offer ultrasonic leak detection. Sonotec’s ultrasonic leak detection technology, specifically the SONAPHONE device, is designed to detect and locate leaks in various industrial applications, including compressed air systems. The digital testing device utilizes an ultrasonic transmitter and innovative sensors to detect compressed air or gas leaks. Our preventative maintenance experts use this technology to help catch air leaks before they become a real problem.

Innovations Driving Environmental Sustainability

At Air Handling Equipment, we are committed to driving environmental sustainability through innovation. Our selection of modern air compressors is designed to meet rigorous energy efficiency standards and incorporate advanced technologies to effectively detect and prevent leaks. Real-time monitoring systems, advanced sensors, and preventative maintenance advanced notifications allow businesses to act proactively.

We firmly believe that partnerships are crucial for a greener future. By working closely with our customers and industry partners, we’ve developed tailored solutions that address specific needs and optimize air compressor systems for minimal environmental impact. Regular audits, customized solutions, and maintenance services are integral to our approach and ensure optimal performance across various sectors.

“Celebrating the power of innovation in sustainability, Air Handling Equipment is dedicated to delivering more than just compressed air; we’re delivering a breath of fresh air for our planet and our customers. With every innovation, every solution, and every partnership, we’re leading the charge towards a greener future.” – Kurt Barhorst, Air Handling Equipment President


Embracing a modern approach toward your air compressors improves energy efficiency and drives cost savings. As an air compressor supplier for the Midwestern and Southern Ohio Markets, Air Handling Equipment is committed to providing sustainable solutions and supporting industries toward a cleaner and greener future.

With office locations in Sidney, Loveland, and Gahanna, Air Handling Equipment has provided compressed air system solutions to the Midwestern and Southern Ohio markets since 1977. This includes proudly serving the greater Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Lima, and Findlay, Ohio areas. For questions about our selection of used air compressors, call one of our locations or fill out our online contact form, and someone from our team will get back to you as soon as possible.