Voltage optimisation – a facility manager’s energy saving ally

Following the mandatory energy usage audits recently carried out by qualified assessors as part of the Environment Agency’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), voltage optimisation emerged as one of the technologies most regularly recommended to companies as a viable solution to reduce energy consumption levels.

This article explains why, on the back of the recent ESOS audits, it is important that facilities managers fully understand the role voltage optimisation can play in their sustainability strategies.

Voltage optimisation is a well-established and highly effective method of reducing a company’s energy consumption, decreasing its carbon footprint and producing savings on electricity bills.

The concept behind the technology is simple. On the whole, power is supplied at a higher voltage than is necessary. Although the ideal voltage required for most electrical equipment in the UK is 220V, the average delivered is actually 242V – voltage can be delivered at levels as high as 253V. The mismatch between voltage required and voltage delivered results in a waste of energy and of course money. Voltage optimisation corrects the over-voltage and brings it in line with the actual needs of the equipment on site, through use of a device installed in series with the mains electricity supply.

High Voltage

High Voltage (HV) side optimisation technologies offer optimisation solutions to sites that own their own distribution transformers. Many technologies exist, but there is only one system currently on the market that provides HV, electronic variable voltage optimisation. This is a combined solution that replaces an inefficient on-site HV transformer with an amorphous core super-low loss HV transformer, with integrated electronic-dynamic voltage optimisation technology.

Depending on the age and type of the transformer that it replaces, an amorphous core transformer can provide between 1% to 5% savings simply because it is so much more efficient. In addition to savings on replacement of the transformer, the integrated voltage optimisation technology can be expected to provide further savings of anywhere between 12% and 15%.

Low Voltage

Low Voltage (LV) side optimisation is connected to the low voltage side of a building.
There are two variations of LV side optimisation technology available: fixed and variable (also known as electronic-dynamic, electronic or intelligent voltage optimisation). Fixed voltage optimisation systems reduce the incoming voltage by a set amount to the optimum level for site operations. However, output varies as the input voltage differs.

Variable voltage optimisation systems set the output voltage at the optimum level and maintain this by systematically managing the peaks and troughs in the power supplied, irrespective of the incoming voltage levels, to ensure that voltage is supplied at a constant, stable level.

Optimum savings

Voltage optimisation provides savings on a variety of loads but not all equipment will consume less energy. The greatest savings come from inductive loads such as lighting and motors, especially if motors are not always loaded at 100% of their capacity. A building that has fixed speed devices such as air-handling units, multi stage compressors (i.e. chillers), pumps and standard switch-start fluorescent fittings, will achieve high savings.

Some loads such as VSDs will also see savings but at reduced levels and some loads will yield zero savings but will benefit in other ways. It is important to understand the electrical loading characteristics of your site and to remember that no two sites are the same.

All sectors can profit from voltage optimisation technology – from hospitals that need to maintain a steady power delivery 24 hours a day to operate sensitive, multi-million pound equipment, to government buildings, hotels, supermarkets and warehouses that are keeping a keen eye on energy expenditure and carbon emissions in order to meet sustainability targets.

The manufacturing industry particularly benefits from its ability to lower the operating temperatures of motors, thus reducing maintenance costs.

There is no downside to voltage optimisation. It can be used in conjunction with other sustainable technologies such as solar or wind power, and pays for itself within three years. After that, the substantial savings are enduring and feed straight back to a business’s bottom line.

Designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK since 2002, Powerstar is the market leading voltage optimisation brand. Powerstar systems are able to deliver substantial reductions in energy consumption through fixed or electronic-dynamic optimisation at either the HV side (High Voltage) or LV side (Low Voltage) of a site without impacting on the business operations of the building itself.

Having worked with an impressive portfolio of blue chip clients, government departments and a range of SMEs the Powerstar team are industry experts in voltage optimisation, able to provide advice and guidance to facilities managers looking to implement voltage optimisation on the back of ESOS audit recommendations for their sites.

 For more information visit www.powerstar.com or email info@powerstar.com


Transforming energy supply – Powerstar now offers enhanced savings

powerstar2Buildings with their own transformers can now achieve greater energy savings than ever before thanks to the latest technology from market leading voltage optimisation manufacturer EMSc (UK) Ltd, with the revolutionary Powerstar – HV MAX. Dr Alex Mardapittas, managing director, explains …

 Voltage optimisation is a well established and highly effective energy-saving technology that should form part of every organisation’s energy reduction strategy. A system, fitted in series with the mains electricity supply, ensures that a site only receives and pays for the voltage that it needs and uses – generally around the 220V, which is optimum for EU electrical equipment, instead of the average 242V supplied by the National Grid.

As the leading innovator in the field and the only voltage optimisation manufacturer with a patent on its design, British company Powerstar has been delivering savings to the public and private sectors for over 13 years. Its market leading and unique system not only provides substantial financial savings averaging 12% – 15% with a typical payback of two to three years – it also reduces carbon emissions, extends the life of electrical equipment which can be damaged by peaks and troughs in power supply and tackles poor power quality issues.

Expertise and Experience

Both the private and public sector, including Government, local authorities, hospitals, schools and colleges throughout the UK have benefited from guaranteed savings with the installation of Powerstar systems. All of which have demonstrated a 100% safety, security and reliability track record.London City Hall, is just one of many flagship buildings to reap the benefits of a Powerstar voltage optimisation unit which is providing the Greater London Authority with energy savings of 13.6%.

Sheffield Hallam University has experienced an even greater reduction in energy spend –  approximately 16% – in its student union since installing a Powerstar system. The unit has also removed high levels of harmonics (electrical noise) from the supply and there has been a welcomed 75% reduction in the failure of light tubes. The reduction in maintenance costs plus energy savings have provided the University with a payback of just over one year.

Hospitals are well-placed to benefit from the advantages offered by Powerstar voltage optimisation systems as several NHS Trusts, including Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust have discovered.

Critical hospital equipment and high night loads mean that it is absolutely essential that voltage is supplied at a constant level, regardless of how unstable the incoming voltage.  Powerstar MAX has been designed for exactly this situation. It is an electronic-dynamic system which uses intelligent electronic controls to automatically ensure consistency of supply. Installation is simple, quick and non-disruptive.


MAX savings

The latest innovation in the Powerstar range is Powerstar HV MAX, which combines the electro-dynamic voltage optimisation technology of Powerstar MAX with a super-efficient transformer. This is the world’s first high voltage electronic variable solution, developed after years of market research.

Designed for businesses that operate their own transformers, Powerstar HV MAX was the first fully electronically variable High Voltage (HV) transformer in the world, The Powerstar HV MAX system takes 11,000V/22,000V/33,000V input and provides a fully electronically regulated 380 (or user-defined) voltage. The user can also alter the defined voltage locally through HMI on site or remotely via the internet, as all the units are IP addressable, through BMS (ModBus) or through GPRS (remote access).

Powerstar HV MAX allows sites with their own transformers to take voltage optimisation one step further by optimising a building’s voltage supply on the high voltage side before it even enters a building.

Depending on the age and type of the HV transformer that is already installed on site, a Powerstar HV MAX system, will provide between 3%-10% savings, just from replacement of the HV distribution transformer, with the more efficient super low loss amorphous core transformer used with the HV MAX. Coupled with the integrated voltage optimisation technology, which will offer a further 12%-15% savings, sites can expect to achieve average savings of 17% from installation of a Powerstar HV MAX.

The super low-loss transformer has an amorphous core, which delivers savings of up to 75% when compared with conventional transformers as they contain a core of cold rolled grain oriented steel. Integrated voltage optimisation technology provides a combined solution of replacing an inefficient transformer and optimising site voltage, resulting in substantial energy savings that average 17%.

Powerstar HV MAX can replace a building’s existing transformer or be installed in new building developments and incorporates a monitoring facility, enabling organisations to identify where further energy savings can be made. It can be installed in four to six hours without touching the on-site supply and adapted for inside or outside installations. Powerstar has no moving parts so maintenance is minimal and all systems come with a 15-year warranty.


Guaranteed savings

All sites have different voltage needs and this is why Powerstar carries out a free and comprehensive on-site assessment before recommending the most appropriate system and agreeing a guaranteed level of savings.

Voltage optimisation systems are a ‘fit and forget’ technology which provide savings at source and can be used in conjunction with all other energy-saving measures such as lighting controls and photovoltaic panels. With the arrival of HV MAX offering more options than ever, doesn’t it make sense to find out how much you could be saving?

Powerstar HV MAX is part of the Powerstar range, which has been manufactured by EMSc (UK) Ltd, entirely in the UK for over 13 years. The company also conducts all its research, development and sourcing in the UK and has been accredited with the prestigious Made in Sheffield accolade. The Yorkshire-based company has successfully expanded into international markets with subsidiaries in Australia and Cyprus. It has distributors in a number of countries, including Germany, Austria, Spain, UAE and South Africa.


For more information:

Call: 01142 576200

Visit: www.powerstar.com

Email: info@powerstar.co.uk