What is voltage optimisation?
Voltage optimisation will ensure that the power delivered into any building is cleaned, optimised, and importantly, regulated. In essence it is an effective energy saving technique. By optimised we mean that it will not exceed the optimum level. Energy related equipment inside a building can be examined to better understand how the use of power can be processed to reduce or completely stop energy wastage. This will help business electricity customers save as much money as possible.
Another great benefit that this energy saving technique has is extending the lifespan of any electrical equipment, this is in addition to lowering costs and reducing a company’s carbon emissions. This can be achieved through the optimisation of power, energy cleaning and total voltage management.
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How can voltage optimisation save my business energy?
As a result of anachronistic electricity distribution networks, energy that is supplied through the National Grid normally has a higher voltage than that required. Furthermore, electricity suppliers were obligated to supply voltage to all buildings within set parameters in years past.
The purpose of voltage optimisation is to lower these unnecessarily high voltage levels through regulating the incoming power supply. This method of efficiency helps save energy and consumers money at the same time.
How does voltage optimisation actually work?
Each provider that utilises voltage optimisation technology will have their own processes, these can vary from one to another. However, generally speaking, the system will operate through a method of taking the required voltage from the National Grid, making use of this and then returning the extra energy so that there is no energy wastage. Through this process, negative power is created. This increases supply and simplifies the energy consumption of the site it is related to.
By now it is no secret that commercial entities are using far too much energy and are paying for the excess to do so. The benefits that voltage optimisation provides are as clear as day. Businesses that utilise these processes will be able to reduce their carbon emissions, lower energy consumption and save money on commercial electricity in the process.
Voltage can be reduced through the following two ways:
- The voltage can be reduced to a predetermined set level via variable electronic, dynamic voltage optimisation.
- The voltage can be reduced by a specified amount which is set in relation to the incoming supply. This is referred to as fixed voltage optimisation.
In the past, there used to be a level of discourse in regard to how effective voltage optimisation actually was, along with its implementation. In the modern age, advancements in science and technology have been able to thoroughly test its use to prove its effectiveness. Did you know that the process can actually be traced back almost one hundred years ago when it is thought to have been used in the glass industry?
Who can take advantage of voltage optimisation?
Voltage optimisation is especially beneficial to any business or organisation that receives electricity at a higher voltage than that required. This can include both domestic and commercial buildings.
The number of businesses up and down the country that use excessive amounts of power is much higher than you may think. Fortunately, this is where voltage optimisation techniques tackle these challenges without having a negative effect on the electricity supply in the UK.
What else do I need to consider?
The first thing that business owners and managers should take note of is that voltage optimisation is not an energy saving method that can easily be bought and implemented. It can be quite a complex and technical process. The company which provides the necessary hardware must first carry out a site survey to ascertain what type of hardware will be required. Two of the most important factors are whether or not the business in question has its own dedicated HV/LV distribution or a low voltage supply (LV).
We should also make mention that voltage optimisation should not be confused with step-down transformers or voltage stabilisers as these simply lower the voltage rather than save energy. The two are markedly different and have their own unique advantages and disadvantages.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
To get a better understanding of voltage optimisation, we have highlighted some of its main advantages and disadvantages below.
- Helps to streamline energy usage significantly, this can result in lower cost bills and reduced carbon emissions.
- It could provide payback within one to two years of use.
- It is a tried and tested method that has been used for over 100 years to ensure that only the optimal voltage levels are being delivered to your electrical equipment.
- Energy savings of 16% on appliances, 14% on chillers, 15% on certain types of lighting, and 4% on direct motors are possible through the effective use of voltage optimisation.
- Can be installed at the distribution level or the low voltage incomer.
- Initial investment costs can be high.
- Setup and installation could cause temporary disruption to the power supply.
A voltage optimisation study from Intel
Intel, one of the world’s largest semiconductor chip manufacturers, conducted their own study on voltage optimisation in the 1990’s. The technology giant found that an 8.9% reduction in voltage resulted in them consuming around 20% less energy. With a company as large as Intel making energy savings on this level and benefiting from this energy efficiency technique, it will not come as a surprise to see a number of major UK businesses also taking advantage.
Are voltage optimisers worth it?
If the electrical equipment within your home or business premises is voltage dependent and if this equipment also accounts for a large amount of your energy consumption, it may be worth considering voltage optimisers. Although it is worth mentioning that if your electricity consumption mainly consists of voltage-independent loads, voltage optimisers may not be the solution for you.
Seeking expert advice is one of the best ways to understand if the electronics within your home or business are voltage-dependent or not.