How does VPO work?
Put simply, most electrical equipment is designed and manufactured to run at 220 volts; however, most buildings are supplied voltage much higher than this. As a result, buildings use more electricity than they actually need, simply because their power is not optimised. If your power is not optimised, you are paying for up to 20 per cent more electricity than you need and, at the same time, emitting up to 15 per cent more CO2.
VPO regulates and controls the voltage supplied to a building, helping to lower electricity bills, protect vital electrical infrastructure and help equipment work more efficiently for longer. Savings in energy (kilowatt hours) consumption, on average, range from eight per cent to 12 per cent.
One of the latest to join the growing list of clubs implementing voltage power optimisation is the Commercial Club, Albury.
Founded in 1903, the Commercial Club now has more than 30,000 members, making it the largest club in the region.
The Commercial Club looked at multiple technologies before deciding to implement VPO technology. The technology chosen by Commercial Club is implemented by Forum Enviro’s powerPerfector.
Great energy savings
As a not-for-profit organisation, the Commercial Club is dedicated to raising money for a variety of charitable organisations. In 2013, the Commercial Club donated in excess of $230,000 to 81 separate charities. Any savings that can be made in the day-to-day running costs of the Club help to ensure that more funds are available to support these charities.
Of equal importance, any investment in energy efficiency and renewable technology need to positively affect the Club’s bottom line.
The VPO technology chosen by the Commercial Club regulates and controls the energy supplied at the source to lower consumption and reduce costs. Since the implementation of this technology, the Club has seen dramatic savings on its electricity usage, ensuring the protection of vital electrical infrastructure to help equipment work more efficiently for longer.
The Club undertook a comprehensive review of the market to determine the right solution for them. ‘Voltage power optimisation was implemented after extensive review of alternative technologies, including solar panels, trigen and cogen. Ultimately, [VPO] was chosen because of a more favourable return on investment,’ says the Commercial Club’s Facilities Manager, Roger Altmeier.
What’s more, Forum Group guarantees the return on investment that its VPO technology will deliver, so the Club was always making a risk-free investment.
The right loads
The Commercial Club is one of the largest clubs in the state, and as such has multiple incoming mains electrical supplies. In such circumstances, it is necessary to install VPO on each suitable supply, in order to maximise energy-saving potential.
Forum Enviro completed a thorough review of the site to determine which supplies fed which electrical loads. It’s common to see the greatest savings on facilities with large lighting and office equipment loads, including motors, refrigeration and air conditioning – the type of equipment found at most Australian clubs.
The long operating hours at the Club (known as a high load factor) would also help maximise the savings made.
Two VPO units – a 1250-kVA and a 1000-kVA – were installed at the Commercial Club on 20 October 2013. Five months later, independent energy auditors calculated the level of savings achieved. To give a fair evaluation, you must consider the factors that drive energy use on the site. For example, a common factor is the weather, which governs how hard heating or cooling equipment must work. Accounting for these ‘externalities’ using a regression analysis should be part of any independent savings analysis.
This work was carried out by EEVS Insight, a leading provider of energy-efficiency performance measurement and verification.
Using IPMVP-based regression analysis, EEVS Insight found that VPO had reduced bills at the club by nearly nine per cent. This equates to an annual energy saving of 431,752 kilowatt hours, or $105,650.
In addition to the energy savings achieved by reducing the voltage levels across the site, equipment will also last longer thanks to VPO.
That’s because electrical equipment performs inefficiently when exposed to excessive voltage and poor power quality. Take a normal 230-volt rated lamp; when run at 240 volts, it will fail after 550 hours instead of 1000, drawing nine per cent more energy.
Now imagine that problem spread across an entire site, with every single component failing faster and wasting energy. That’s expensive, and can be corrected with VPO.
Voltage power optimisation cuts your energy use by up to 15 per cent, reduces carbon emissions by up to 15 per cent, reduces your maximum demand by up to 10 per cent, and prolongs the life and reliability of all electrical equipment in your premises.
About Forum Enviro
Forum Enviro is the division of Forum Group with sustainability as its focus. Forum Enviro offers a range of products designed to minimise environmental impact, and provides new and innovative ways to deliver substantial savings for businesses.