Voltage optimisation in the quest for sustainable energy

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Sam Allcock

Sustainability now tends to be a cornerstone of most business models, and it’s one that has been accelerated in the last year as national lockdowns slowed society down to a halt and global emissions whittled down by 5.8%. Lockdown might have been the breather that the planet needed, but there is much work to be done. 

In the race for net zero emissions by 2050, it’s essential that businesses play their part in making the commitment to reducing their carbon footprint by 2030 – a target agreed between member states and the EU Parliament – including the adoption of smart technologies and power protection solutions in order to achieve energy efficiency. 

An increased demand for energy 

Lockdown brought on significant changes to how we consume electricity in the UK, leading to a widespread energy imbalance. This strain on the national grid came from a mix of usage becoming more evenly spread as there was more variation in people’s morning routines, and spikes in TV pick-ups when we tuned into lockdown announcements.  

During March 0f 2020, domestic energy consumption specifically rose by 4.5% on the whole, likely as a result of increased remote working from that month. In fact, around this time, we saw an increase in customers switching energy providers compared to the previous year. 

“The margin between what’s generated and what’s being demanded is decreasing, meaning there’s a higher risk of voltage brownouts and power outages,” says Simon Dover, energy expert and Operations Manager at Ashley Edison. “Power generators and distribution suppliers have got to remodel and make sure they have the capacity and the infrastructure to meet these new requirements.” 

Voltage optimisation: what is it and is it worth it? 

By stabilising the mains electricity supply and ensuring it doesn’t exceed the equipment’s intended voltage, an automatic voltage optimiser (AVO) is capable of significantly reducing energy usage and cutting energy costs by up to 20%, solving problems around unnecessary energy consumption – particularly in Europe.

In the UK and some other countries, although electrical equipment is designed to operate at 220 volts, generated electricity can typically amount to up to 245. However, interest in voltage optimisation is growing worldwide and has the potential to greatly assist in lowering our impact on the environment, inching us somewhat closer to carbon neutrality. 

The technology works by stabilising the output of electricity so that it is proportional to the intended voltage supply of the equipment. If your business’ appliances largely rely on voltage, it may serve you well to consider voltage optimisation, particularly on a large industrial scale. 

For homeowners, the need for voltage optimisation is less common, however, those who have installed the technology have seen returns on investment of up to 27%.  

Aside from the environmental benefits, an AVO effectively preserves the design life of electrical equipment by protecting it against frequent power surges and voltage transients and allowing it to operate more efficiently, effectively reducing ongoing maintenance costs.

Embracing energy-saving technologies 

Against the backdrop of recent events, including the G7 summit which saw world leaders come together to agree on an agenda for halving global emissions by 2030, organisations are realising a collective, conscious effort to transform their outlook on sustainability needs to be made.

Voltage optimisation in particular, although less known, is an effective method for regulating the UK’s voltage supply which remains relatively high compared with that of other countries in Europe. 

By adopting these kinds of technologies, businesses increase their value and the incentive for people to choose them. It is time to take the necessary steps towards sustainability if companies are to keep up with competitors and improve their credibility and efficiency. 

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