17 Dec Voltage Optimisation – what exactly is it
Quite simply, the basic principle of Voltage Optimisation (VO) is to it is to reduce the voltage level from that of the incoming grid supply to match the needs of your electrical equipment.
Unfortunately, electrical equipment can consume more energy at higher voltages, so the higher your supply voltage is, the more likely you are needlessly wasting energy. High supply voltages are also a major contributor to the premature failure of electrical equipment, so you are also ‘burning out’ your equipment.
Here in the UK we commonly refer to the grid supply voltage as being 240V. The UK’s average voltage is 242V but for many customers, it is often far higher. The move away from traditional large-scale centralised power generation, to a decentralised renewable approach utilising wind, solar and other small-scale generation technologies has led to an increased in grid supply voltage. It is now common for many customers to experience supply voltages in the high 240’s or even low 250’s voltage range.
To compound matters further, to meet EU standards of conformity, all electrical equipment intended for use within the EU, must be designed to operate most efficiently at 230V, (the European harmonised voltage). So, unless you have already implemented measures to reduce this unnecessarily high grid supply voltage, you will certainly be unwittingly overvolting your electrical equipment. The issue has even been raised in BS767, the UK’s Wiring Regulations to which all UK electricians and electrical engineers must abide by. It states:
“Any linear appliance with a design voltage of 230V, when required to work at a constant voltage of 240V and above, will consume more energy and suffer a shortened working life of up to 46%.”
“Will reducing the grid supply voltage affect the performance of your equipment?
By carefully optimising your supply voltage there will be no effect on the performance of your equipment whatsoever. After all, we are simply suggesting that you supply your electrical equipment at the correct voltage level.*
“Will your equipment last longer?”
Yes. Supplying your electrical equipment with an unnecessarily high voltage level results in excessive heat being generated. The effects of thermal stress on electrical equipment are easily calculated and widely understood. It is considered to be the dominant stress in relation to premature failure of equipment. For every 10°C increase in temperature above the maximum design value, the expected thermal life is reduced by half. Conversely reducing the operating temperature by 10°C doubles the life expectancy.
“Will reducing the grid supply voltage deliver you energy savings?”
Yes, you can make substantial energy savings and extend the life expectancy your electrical equipment. Voltage optimisation exploits an electrical Law, the physics behind this say that you will make an energy saving. How much you will save depends on two things:
Your existing grid supply voltage, the higher it is the greater the potential for savings.
The types of electrical equipment you operate, different pieces of electrical equipment deliver different levels of energy saving for the same reduction in voltage.*
Installing Voltage Optimisation technology provides two distinct benefits:
It protects your equipment against premature failure. It is difficult to place a value on this. You may have invested many hundreds of thousands, if not millions in equipment, but maybe unwittingly halving its life expectancy due to an unnecessarily high supply voltage.
It delivers energy savings, reduced demand and your harmful carbon emissions, which is good for your pocket and the environment.
“So, what should you do next?”
If you can do so safely, measure your grid supply voltage! You can measure your supply voltage by using a low-cost energy meter that plugs into standard 13A socket, (search “UK Plug Electricity Usage Power Meters” on Amazon for options). Whilst anything over 230V can be considered as being too high, realistically your supply voltage needs to be more than 235V for Voltage Optimisation to be commercially viable, (i.e. if you require a payback of less than two years).
If your voltage is higher than 235V, contact Powerdown220 so that we can discuss and evaluate your suitability for the implementation of Voltage Optimisation technology
Powerdown220 are delighted to be exhibiting at EMEX 2021. Come and meet the team at stand b62 to discuss how we are using technology to help UK Businesses improve their energy efficiency, reduce energy costs, and reduce carbon emissions against a backdrop of rising energy prices. We deliver guaranteed savings via Voltage Optimisation (VO) or Coolnomix technology.
Looking back now, it feels as though I was educated in a bygone era. Unlike today, (where I grew up at least) kids left school at 16 and didn’t think they had an automatic right to stay on for A levels and progress to Uni. No, we accepted that only the really, really, clever kids went to Uni. Despite having access to a computer, a Sinclair ZX81 (this was 1981, Google it kids) there was no internet, no YouTube, blogging or vlogging, so my chances of becoming an ‘influencer’ were remote, to say the least. TV was limited to three channels, reality TV didn’t exist, so becoming a celebrity nobody wasn’t an option. For me, like the many millions of other average kids leaving school that year, the only option was to get a job!
Quite simply, the basic principle of Voltage Optimisation (VO) is to it is to reduce the voltage level from that of the incoming grid supply to match the needs of your electrical equipment. Unfortunately, electrical equipment can consume more energy at higher voltages, so the higher your supply voltage is, the more likely you are needlessly wasting energy. High supply voltages are also a major contributor to the premature failure of electrical equipment, so you are also ‘burning out’ your equipment.
How will installing a Powerdown220 Voltage Optimiser affect my current electrical equipment and appliances?
We are often asked by potential customers. “What impact will VO have on our equipment?”. The simple answer is, none, because we are simply suggesting that you supply your electrical equipment with the correct voltage level. European standard IEC 60038 specifies all supply voltage limits,
Powerdown220 Technicians perform daily health screenings, including daily regular
temperature tests, to ensure they are safe to enter your site. The technician will be
wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the entirety of the install, which includes a mask, gloves and boot covers.