Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency – What is it and who needs it?

Energy Efficiency. A service to an electricity customer would not be complete without a thorough knowledge of energy efficiency and energy efficient equipment.

In the context of power quality this understanding is particularly important because the decreasing power quality that customers are often experiencing is due, in no small measure, to high energy efficiency modern electronic equipment that tend to distort the voltage waveform (high harmonics). Not to say that this type of equipment should not be used, it very often should definitely be used, but what is needed is a holistic understanding of how such equipment interacts with other equipment and with the power supply.

An example of inadequate consideration could for example be:
Businessman “A” purchases a relatively large Variable Speed Drive (VSD) to use on a commercial extractor fan due to the significant energy savings to be had. However, unbeknown to him the VSD is of poor quality and generates too many harmonics and commutation notches (distorts the voltage waveform) with the result that the process controller for his production line trips intermittently. It takes him three weeks and a lot of lost production to find that the cause of his problem is his new VSD. He throws the VSD in the skip, and never again wants anything more to do with energy efficiency – a bad outcome all around, particularly for him.

On the other hand, consider Businessman “B” who knows that he can get significant energy savings by installing a VSD on his large extractor fan and running the fan only at the speed needed at any particular time. He gets some sound advice and selects an appropriate VSD (with suitable line rectors). Everything operates perfectly and he saves a lot of money on his electricity bill – a good outcome all around, particularly for him.

At Power Quality Investigations we believe strongly that energy efficiency initiatives should definitely be considered but that they must only be done in a way that supports the primary business activity. For example, there have been hundreds of LED lighting replacements that have resulted in a decrease in the level of lighting supplied to workers, with lower morale and less production as a result. And it is not the fault of LED lighting; LED is a great lighting technology. The tragedy is that the customer did not get the correct advice and a less than adequate LED lamp was selected.

For advice on energy efficiency that supports and complements your business speak to the professionals at Power Quality Investigations. Remember we do not sell any particular products or equipment, so we are in a position to give independent and objective advice.

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