Achieving optimum UPS efficiency

The UK is firmly focussed on its 2050 net zero targets. Although ambitious, if all industries come together, adopt sustainable practices and work to deliver optimum efficiencies, these carbon neutral goals will be well within reach.

Like so many others, the ECA has shown its commitment to a low carbon economy but has highlighted a number of areas in need, including skills training and practical knowledge on where more efficiencies can be gained.

As expected, Secure Power Ltd is placing great emphasis on helping businesses understand the true cost of power and, in particular, where efficiency gains can be easily recognised. This starts with the more obvious electrical framework and ensuring all elements within the electrical path are not only fit for purpose but also operating correctly. The not so apparent efficiency gains lie within the backup power equipment that supports these elements. Did you know that wasted UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) energy is one of the biggest costs associated with running an emergency power system?

Today, manufacturers of UPS solutions boast 90–98% efficiency when operating at full capacity. However, it is recommended that UPS systems are not fully loaded and that a 20% margin is allowed, which does beg the question – why not just state true efficiency levels? For example, a UPS system that is rated at 98% efficient should in fact only be able to ever deliver 78% efficiency. This immediately delivers 22% of wasted energy.

It is therefore critical to understand the load requirements and to have these regularly reviewed. Secure Power’s service manager Nick Morely comments: “Load requirements are becoming increasingly difficult to manage and many businesses are falling victim to running their UPS at significantly lower loads than intended. As efficiency improvements are continuously being made to electrical devices, these will be updated and often replace more inefficient equipment. When this happens, the impact to the UPS load is often overlooked.

“Efficiency issues have been further compounded by the recent COVID-19 events that have shutdown many operations. UPS solutions, in many situations have been left running, despite their dependent applications being dormant. This has resulted in huge numbers of UPS systems wasting enormous amounts of energy, which is not only costly financially but also to the environment.

“With an instant 22% of energy being wasted, it becomes even more imperative that no additional energy is lost through heat dissipation and other condition factors. With large UPS systems, even a relatively small percentage of increased efficiency can result in major cost savings, so UPS maintenance and ensuring UPS systems are replaced every five to eight years or when they become less efficient will help to keep running costs down.

“We offer regular UPS health checks and are coming across an increasing number of inefficient UPS solutions. Luckily for those that have chosen to have a review or had a UPS service visit, their inefficiencies can be addressed quickly. To put it into perspective, the efficiency of a UPS can be greatly enhanced by adjusting its load requirements, ensuring it is operating in an optimal environment and by having regularly serviced UPS parts. If UPS efficiency is improved by even 1-2% the value of this could be up to £5k per annum.

“Secure Power wants to help industries realise how achieving superior UPS efficiency will significantly contribute towards reducing the UK’s overall carbon footprint. It does need to be a collective effort though and our experience in helping businesses realise true operational efficiencies will benefit our partners and clients.”

The company maintains UPS efficiency throughout the lifetime of the UPS solution by carrying out regular UPS health checks, maintenance and servicing. It also has one of the largest certified UPS parts and authorised UPS solution portfolios in the country and has direct stock availability for line interactive UPS systems to online double conversion, scalable modular UPS and containerised back-up power.

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