What is voltage optimisation?
Quite simply put, voltage optimisation is to reduce the supply voltage applied to a single piece of equipment or machinery, a lighting system, a specific area within a building or an entire building. If the reduction in supply voltage is carefully matched to the needs of the connected electrical equipment it is possible to make a substantial energy saving and extend the life expectancy of the connected equipment.
Why can the voltage be reduced?
The electrical supply voltage in the UK is much higher than in Europe: 235-245v in the UK, compared with 220-230v across Europe. However all electrical equipment designed for use in Europe and the UK must be capable of operating throughout the entire voltage range to comply with current CE regulations. A large proportion of this equipment consumes more energy the higher the supply voltage applied to it. Therefore it makes sense to reduce the supply voltage nearer to those found across Europe in order to make substantial energy savings.
Why isn’t electricity supplied at the lower voltages if it saves energy?
Unfortunately, in the UK the electrical supply infrastructure has been historically designed to operate at 240v. This reduces transmission losses and helps maintain the supply voltage for all consumers over large distances and during periods of heavy demand. Therefore the electricity supply companies have no alternative but to generate at the top end of the legal voltage range agreed for all European countries. In fact, the average voltage experienced by UK consumers is 242v. Voltage optimisers overcome and exploit this by optimising your voltage locally within your building.
Although it is true say that the higher your supply voltage, the greater the potential for savings using voltage optimisation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that if your supply voltage is high you will make a large energy saving for the same reduction in voltage. On some sites it may make more sense to optimise the voltage to just the lighting, or a specific area, rather than the entire building. The ‘one box fits all approach’ pushed by some companies certainly does not always make for successful voltage optimisation projects. We need to take into consideration the different kinds of electrical equipment that you have on site. Coupling this approach to the unique modular construction of voltage optimisers allows us to provide you with a tailored, bespoke solution that maximises your savings, at an “off the shelf” price which reduces your payback.