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Your Guide to Voltage Optimisation

Are you interested in voltage optimisation and its benefits? If so, as part of our continued commitment to energy efficiency, we’ve put together the following guide to provide you with everything you need to know about voltage optimisation.

What Is Voltage Optimisation? 

Voltage Optimisation is an effective energy-saving technique which seeks to ensure that the power delivered into a building is cleaned, regulated and optimised so that it doesn’t exceed the optimum level. All energy-related equipment in the building is assessed to see how its use of power can be streamlined to prevent energy wastage and save as much money as possible.

This energy-saving technique also has the dual benefit of extending the life of any electrical equipment as well as reducing costs and helping to lower carbon emissions. This is achieved through the optimisation of power, the cleaning of energy and voltage management.

How Can Voltage Optimisation Save Energy? 

Due to archaic electricity distribution networks, the energy supplied from the National Grid tends to have a higher voltage than necessary. Additionally, in the past, electricity suppliers were required to supply voltage to all buildings within set parameters.

Voltage optimisation is designed to reduce these excessive voltage levels by regulating the incoming power supply, thus helping to save energy.

How Does Voltage Optimisation Work? 

Different providers of voltage optimisation technology will have slightly different processes, but in general, the system works through a method of taking the required voltage from the National Grid, using this and then returning the surplus so as not to waste any energy whatsoever. The process creates something called negative power which boosts supply and streamlines the energy consumption of the site in question. With so many businesses using too much energy and indeed, paying too much for it, it is clear to see the obvious benefits associated with voltage optimisation.

There are two ways that voltage can be reduced:

  • 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 called fixed voltage optimisation. 

There used to be some debate regarding the effectiveness of voltage optimisation, but it has now been tried and tested using advances in technology. The process can actually be traced back as far as a hundred years when it is thought to have been used in the glass industry.

 

High Voltage Warning Svg

Who Could Benefit From Voltage Optimisation? 

Voltage Optimisation is of particular use to any organisation that receives electricity at a higher voltage than is required; this includes both homes and businesses. The amount of businesses across the country using excessive amounts of energy is much larger than one would expect, and this technique addresses the problem without affecting the actual electricity supply.

Things To Consider 

The thing to remember with Voltage Optimisation is that this is not an energy-saving method that can be easily purchased and implemented. The company which supplies the hardware will need to perform a survey of the site in question to establish what kind of equipment is needed. Two big factors are whether or not the business has its own dedicated HV/LV distribution or a low voltage supply (LV). It is also important not to confuse Voltage Optimisation with step-down transformers or voltage stabilisers as these simply lower the voltage rather than save energy.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Voltage Optimisation? 

To help you get a better insight into voltage optimisation, we’ve identified some of its main pros and cons below.

Pros 

  • Helps to streamline energy consumption significantly, which can result in lower bills and reduced carbon footprint.
  • It can provide payback within 1-2 years.
  • It’s 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 [1].
  • Energy savings of 16% on appliances, 14% on chillers, 15% on certain types of lighting, and 4% on direct motors can be made through the effective use of voltage optimisation.
  • Can be installed at the distribution level or the low voltage incomer.

Cons 

  • Initial costs can be high
  • Set-ups can cause temporary disruption to the power supply


Study On Voltage Optimisation From Intel 

IT giants, Intel conducted their own study into voltage optimisation back in the 1990’s and found that an 8.9% reduction in voltage resulted in them consuming around 20% less energy. With a company as massive as Intel making those savings and seeing the benefit of this energy efficiency technique, it has hardly been surprising to see a host of major UK businesses taking advantage also.


Are Voltage Optimisers Worth Getting? 

Voltage optimisers can be worth getting if the electrical equipment in your home or business is voltage-dependent and if these products account for a significant amount of your energy usage. However, if your electricity consumption mainly consists of voltage-independent loads, voltage optimisers may not be a suitable option.

For instance, a halogen lightbulb can be deemed as a voltage-dependent product; reducing the supply voltage will typically result in an exactly proportionate reduction in energy consumption and the amount of light produced will be impacted. Contrastingly, LEDs (Light-Emitting Diodes) which have integrated circuit-based drivers demand the same amount of energy regardless of the supply voltage, so the energy consumed won’t vary.

It can be difficult to determine whether the electronics within your home or business are voltage-dependent or not; in which case you should seek expert advice.

If you’re looking to reduce your home or business’ energy bills, switching energy suppliers and getting a cheaper tariff can be an effective solution. Try our free online comparison tool today. Alternatively, take a look at our energy guides for more energy-saving advice or call us on 0800 9888 375 to speak to an energy expert.