Energy Saving Solutions

How to save energy is a key topic for many building operators faced with rising electricity and gas costs and the need to produce energy rating certificates. There are several ways an organisation can reduce its energy usage including the installation of power management devices and upgrading core infrastructure systems.

Power Factor Correction

Large sites can incur reactive power charges on their electricity bills. This is a charge for non-useful power that the district network operator (DNO) must supply to the site for electrical systems to operate (motors and other devices with electro-magnetic fields).

Poor power factors can be improved through the installation of power factor correction. This can be done as a complete system, known as a power factor correction (PFC) system or installed as a module and built-into an LV switchboard. A power factory correction system uses capacitors to store energy which is used to supply the systems on site incurring the reactive power charge.

A PFC system is installed in a parallel to the electrical supply system. This means that it can fail safety or suffer reduced capacitance without affecting the operation of downstream loads. PFC systems therefore require annual inspection with suspect or faulty capacitors replaced as required.

Voltage Reduction Systems

Reducing the voltage supplied to single-phase or three-phase electrical systems can also reduce energy usage. Voltage optimisers are a form of voltage stabiliser or transformer whose function is to lower a high mains power supply voltage to one lower than 230Vac per phase.

Some sites have a high mains power supply voltage (254Vac per phase or higher). This is due to many factors but principally in the UK in areas with many renewable power installation injections/connection points.

Voltage optimisers must be sized appropriately and the length of cable between the voltage optimiser considered due to cable internal resistance and voltage drop. Voltage optimisers may be electro-mechanical or solid state in design and should be inspected annually. The inspection is necessary for both preventative maintenance but also to review voltage settings to maximise savings as the mains power supply voltage can vary with loading and time of day and year.

Variable Speed and Inverter Drives

Inverter drives are another device that can help improve the energy efficiency for sites operating pumps and motors. Inverter drives can the voltage and frequency supplied to a motor or pump to improve its operational efficiency whilst not affecting performance.

Core Infrastructure System Upgrades

For any building it is advisable to review the energy efficiency rating of core systems including lighting, cooling and devices including transformer-based uninterruptible power supplies.

Energy Saving Projects

We help organisations to save energy. Please contact our energy efficiency experts to discuss your project. Typical projects include core building system upgrades and energy sourcing reviews.