More than half a century has been spent by technicians involved in fans testing to suggest and fix best practice procedures including also the definitions of several performance and efficiency parameters (e.g., ISO, AMCA, ASHRAE Standards...). However, the huge amount of energy used by ventilation systems and the recent introduction of the stringent European Community regulations on Energy Related Products, suggests to spend additional time on the ancient question about which and how many should be the parameters best suited to classify the performance of fans and their capability to properly use the energy input. This also because there are some attempts to fix the fan total-to-static pressure rise and the related total-to-static efficiency as the only two parameters required to assess the fan quality.
Starting from basic thermodynamic principles, this paper tries to shed light on the parameters that are best suited to assess fan performance and efficiency.
The general layout of a ventilation system is discussed to clearly show which and how many are the parameters required for the optimal matching between fan and system. Finally, some comments on practical advantages and drawbacks in the operation of the fan at the total-to-static best efficiency point are presented as well.