Know How energy savings
The Energy Saving System (ESS)
The first principle to understand is that ESS offers no magic black box to electrical consumption reduction. Everything we do follows basic electrical laws and concepts that anyone, properly educated, can duplicate. What makes us unique is our application of these concepts, based upon almost 27 years of experience in this field. There is a whole list of additional side benefits that result from what we do for our customers. Frankly, even if our system didn’t pay for itself from the electrical savings, these side benefits alone would be a great incentive for investing. So let’s look at the other benefits gained by installing an ESS:
- Motors run cooler.
- Light bulbs and ballasts run cooler.
- Transformers, panels, switchgear, breakers, starters, controls and wiring run cooler.
- SCR’s, diode arrays, switching transistors and microprocessors all run cooler.
- Switching power supplies are more stable.
- Process and production controls are more accurate and reliable.
- Air conditioning and refrigeration is more effective and reliable.
- In-house and outside maintenance and labor costs are reduced.
- Equipment repair and maintenance costs decrease.
- Light bulb and ballast replacement costs decrease.
- Costs of production are decreased.
- “Downtime” is reduced.
- PC screens flicker less.
- Computer data is more safe and secure.
- Computer operations are more reliable and stable.
- Lights flicker less.
- Circuit breakers trip less.
- PLC’s and other automated controls malfunction less.
- Improved Power Factor.
These benefits are derived from the reduction of heat, friction, and resistive losses in the facility’s electrical distribution system. Improved power factor also helps with the creation of these positive side effects. Our work is not aimed at the individual loads. We focus on making power corrections in the electrical system itself. As we study a facility, we take electrical readings of power factor, as well as gather information about the layout of the electrical system panels and transformers. All this information is used to determine the recommendations within a specific ESS project proposal.
Really, the least important, and what should be the least emphasized element of an ESS, are the various technologies (ESS products) that might be installed as part of the work performed. We do not sell “products”. Ours is a financial sale. And again, the “products” applied to our projects are among the least of the values offered by an ESS. While we could not achieve the results without these “products”, they are only the tools used to achieve the goals of energy conservation in a cost effective and constructive manner. We then contract to do the installation and provide a fully insured guarantee of the contracted savings.
Here are the major features of an ESS:
- Is passive, not involving the cycling of loads.
- Requires no employee involvement or training.
- Is durable, with a maintenance free expected life of over twenty years.
- Improves the reliability and power quality of the entire facility.
- Have exclusively positive side effects.
- Includes a fully insured guarantee for promised savings.
Only methods that meet these requirements are included into an ESS.
The Foundations of an ESS
The following section discusses the specific measures implemented in an ESS, both the product solutions and the electrical work solutions. However there are three key theoretical foundations on which all the work we do is based:
1. Reducing current lowers wattage heat losses in a distribution system.
2. Adjusting voltage to certain types of loads reduces wattage consumption.
3. Adjusting the electrical system itself saves wattage.
Reducing Current to Lower Wattage Heat losses
Facility electrical distribution system are composed of a collection of individual bits & piece; wire, bus bars, switches, circuit breakers, motor starters, transformers, nuts and bolts, screws and washers, plugs or receptacles, and of course, the electrical loads themselves. These components conduct the current being demanded by the loads in the building and all of them emit heat. By reducing the current draw through all these electrical components, we reduce the wattage being emitted as heat. One of the keys in predicting the savings potential is in identifying the complexity of the electrical system. The more complex the system, the greater the potential for ESS.
Everything, including the Wire
For years, technical and electrical staff have asserted that “line losses” in their facility were negligible, in the 1% to 3% range. How then could ESS claim to save 5% to 15% or even more? This is a powerful objection, but an incorrect one at that.
Line losses in a building are around 1% to 3% of the total building load; but, when added together with the segmentation and the distribution system, we quickly rise to the 5% thru 15% range or even higher. So where does ESS pick up all the savings that we project?
Key Fact: Most building losses are from everything in the electrical distribution system.
Key Fact: “Distribution system losses” and “line losses” are not the same.
Terminology here is very important! When you say “line losses” you are referring to the losses directly
attributed to the length of wire only. When you say “distribution system losses” you are including every single piece of electrical gear in the entire building, from the incoming transformer to the eventual load. That’s a tremendous difference from just the wire.
Let’s Talk About Segmentation.
As ESS has studied our own projects, we have come to understand that the wire in the building usually has very little impact on the savings we create. As stated above, the savings potential of a building is really a function of every component in the electrical distribution system, not just the wire. Having this mindset, let’s look at a new way of evaluating a building for savings potential “segments.”
Key Fact: A conducting wire always has a fastener at each end.
A “segment” of distribution system is made up of a length of wire cable (or metal bus bar) with a mechanical termination (fastener) at both ends. As an example, the wire leaving the main transformer and carrying the power to the end of the bus bar on the main service cabinet is a “segment”. So is the wire leaving a motor starter and carrying power to the motor terminal. One of the main determining factors in the savings gained from an ESS in any facility is the number of segments between the incoming revenue meter and the typical loads in the building. The more segments in the system, the higher the savings. The fewer the segments, the lower the savings.
Key Fact: More segments = more savings. Less segments = less savings.
In all electrical systems, the wattage heating losses are a function of current and resistance. If you increase either value, the wattage heating losses increase. Wire itself has a fairly low electrical resistance. Even very long sections of wire have little total resistance. So wattage losses from wire are typically quite small. However, when wire is cut and placed into a mechanical fastener, (slipped into a hole in a metal block and then clamped down with a bolt), significant resistance is added to the electrical circuit. Even very well designed systems with properly tightened fasteners will add dramatic resistance values to the circuit’s total resistance. Loosely connected or poorly maintained electrical systems will further aggravate this condition. Fasteners are not the only component to add resistance to a building’s electrical system. Listed below are other components of an electrical distribution system that create segments.
- Disconnect switches
- Bus bars
- Fuse blocks
- Circuit breakers
- Heat coils in protective systems
- Motor starters
- Distribution transformers
- Isolation transformers
- Line reactors
- Solid state switching systems
- Lighting ballast
There are undoubtedly other conductive pieces that can be found and every one of these items emits wattage as heat losses, often as much as hundreds or even thousands of feet of wire.
The typical number of segments in the electrical distribution system calculated into an ESS is between 4 segments and 6 segments, for an average of 5. Facilities having an average number of 5 segments will easily show the calculated savings of an ESS prepared proposal. Fewer than 5 segments with generate a lower savings proposal while more than 5 will generate a higher savings proposal. Let’s look at the following diagram of a common building with 5 segments in the distribution system.
In the above example, it is of little importance what distance the wire might be between the electrical components. The total resistance of this circuit is primarily in the several mechanical terminations, in the breakers, bus bar motor starter and motor terminals,…not the wire. So, regardless of the length of the wire involved, full projected savings of the ESS will be achieved with the application of a properly sized ESSLiner (capacitor) to cancel the reactive current demanded by the motor as the following diagram shows.
Consider All the Losses
When an ESS efficient is designed it is a combination of all facility factors that are considered in performing the needed estimation of total wattage heat losses. The mix of load and distribution equipment, measurement of key points and key loads in the system, usage of the load, and a strong historical understanding of how these factors inter-relate to create the total system are all involved in the modeling of a facility being considered for an ESS.
Extremely complex, old, badly designed facilities with a disproportionately high percentage of non-linear equipment loads can show heating and distribution losses of 10% or even higher. A major part of every ESS is identifying and reducing wattage losses through heat dissipation through out the electrical distribution system by intelligently canceling the effects of reactive current and harmonic current.
Adjusting Voltage to Reduce Wattage Consumption
Few areas of facility operations are as misunderstood as the idea of what voltage to supply to what load for what reason and to achieve what result. Most people who work in facility maintenance or engineering positions are married to the concept that manufacturer’s nameplate voltage recommendations have magical significance. In fact, if they were to be altered in any way a major calamity would occur. Interestingly enough, such disasters rarely happen. Most electrical equipment has a much wider range of possible operating voltages and load conditions than those specified on the nameplate, especially with regard to lowering the voltage. In fact, some equipment will perform better and last longer when operated well outside the stated manufacturer’s guidelines.
Adjust the Power Supplied to Lighting
The most common load type that is appropriate for supply voltage adjustments is gas discharge lighting. This is the load that ESS will consider as a candidate for supply voltage adjustment based electrical efficiency improvements. A combined program of ESS products to reduce watt consumption, re-lamp with new lamps, or retrofit with newer technology for gas discharge lighting will save from 20% to a possible 67%. We use several different lighting products to attain our energy reduction.
Voltage and Gas Discharge Lighting
Gas discharge lighting systems include all fluorescent and high intensity discharge lighting. ESS’s primary method of reducing the power consumption demanded by the lights is to apply one of our energy saving lighting controls to create a modest reduction in the supply voltage. This voltage reduction, (normally in the 20% to 30% range), is combined with intelligent selection of bulbs for re-lamping the voltage reduced fixtures. This energy saving approach often draws questions relating to the effects of voltage reduction on lamps and fixture life as well as light output. It is important to understand how we affect each of these issues.
Lamp and Fixture Life
Simply put, any electrical device draws less current at a lowered voltage will produce less heat. Less heat in a lamp or ballast translates into less degeneration of the component over time: again simply - longer life. There is no way to predict the actual improvement in operating life for the lamp or ballast, as this will very from brand to brand. However, when the question of the effect on lamp and ballast life comes up, one simple answer is always true: There is more lamp and ballast life with our products than without them. There is a body of technical literature cautioning against the use of external voltage reducers on gas discharge lights. The common position that external voltage reducers for gas discharge lighting is bad for the lamp is a half-truth. The entire truth is that dramatic voltage reduction to gas discharge lighting is bad. If the voltage to fluorescent lamps is reduced by 50%, then lamp sputtering can result. The lamps may flicker erratically or go out entirely. This will cause quickly appearing darkening of the lamp ends with yellowing of the lamp color. Obviously this will shorten the lamp life and is bad for overall lighting. All of that is bad news indeed…if you reduce the light voltage by 50% or more. Since ESS promises its customers never to introduce a power correction treatment into their facility that will harm equipment, or that will create any negative side effects, we are not permitted to use equipment that creates large drops in lighting voltage. In addition, we require all our dealers to pre-test the prescribed lighting treatment before ordering and installing anything. In the rare event that our products would cause some negative interaction with certain lighting fixtures, this pre-testing will discover the problem before that lighting treatment is ordered and is installed.
• Key Fact: Modest voltage drops to lights (<30%) extend lamp and ballast life and operation.
Ballast manufacturers are notoriously conservative in making operating recommendations for their products, while having little or no concern about the operating cost of these recommendations.
With newly lamped gas discharge lighting fixtures, there is not a one to one relationship between energy cost savings and light output. In fact, depending upon the type, age and condition of the treated fixtures, light output may be reduced from a very little to more than the percentage of the wattage savings achieved. The key is to evaluate the condition of the existing lamps and fixtures. Replace all the old lamps and worn out ballasts at the same time as you install the ESS lighting controls. Many times, by doing this the finished lighted circuit will be as bright as or brighter than the previously installed old bulbs. Whenever possible, we prefer to re-lamp with full spectrum lamps to provide a better-lit environment after treating than was there before. Yes, ESS treatment has the potential of “dimming” the lights. Please read on before deciding this is a bad or undesirable effect.
• Key Fact: Lights get dim over time
All lamps are dimmer today than they were yesterday. In fact, they will be dimmer tomorrow than they are today. As most lights approach the halfway point in their life, they will produce only about 60% to 80% of their initial light. Before they reach the end of their life they will only be producing 40% to 60% of their original light. Yet they require the same amount of energy to do this. By replacing old lights when you install an ESS lighting controller, you will dramatically improve the overall lighting levels while saving energy. The use of full spectrum lights will provide an additional 30% more usable light over standard lamps. An ESS lighting control set to achieve 30% cost savings will initially dim the lights between 15% and 20% of their untreated output. However, over time, the average light output from the treated lights will actually be greater using our products than their untreated counterparts. In fact, over the last 50% of their life, the lamps treated with our products will be 10% to 25% brighter than those not treated. By treating the lights, we extend the life of the lamps and keep the light output higher for a longer period of time.
Invest In Lighting To Gain Light
In fact, if you install new lamps when you install an ESS, you will generally have better lighting now and definitely have better lighting for a much longer period of time. By investing a little now, you will enjoy greater light output for a longer period of time into the future. This means saved energy, reduced lamp replacement costs and reduced maintenance associated with the replacements.
Using a new 20,000-hour lamp upon installation with our ESS light controller will extend the life of the lamp from 20% to 30%. This means extending the lamp life from 20,000 hours to either 24,000 or 26,000 hours. The reduction in light output of the lamp will be extended forward like the trend to extend the lamp life. This means that the lamp will have the same light output normally associated with 10,000 hours when it reaches 12,000 to 14,000 hours. The lamps will lose output at a much slower rate than if they were not treated with ESS products. This will give between one to three years additional useable light from the same light bulbs. Investing in full spectrum lighting will improve the light output even farther. By adding an additional 30% of useable light into the plant and then installing an ESS light controller, it is possible to maintain the same or even better light levels from the beginning of the project. This will allow for greater initial reductions in consumption with little or no reduced lighting levels. As the lamps age, they still maintain the same reduced heat degradation as the standard lamps did. This means, they remain brighter, longer for better life and light output; an even better return for your investment.
Aged, Dimmer Lights Cost the Same to Operate
Regardless of the age or light output of the fluorescent or HID lamp, the electricity consumed remains
constant. A two-year-old 250-watt HID lamp will still consume 250 watts. However, it may only be putting out half of its original light output. The ESS lighting controller instantly reduces the electrical consumption by 20% to 30%. This savings remains constant in the future. Whenever you replace an aged lamp with a new one, the ESS lighting controller will begin paying off all over again. By causing a modest initial light output reduction, then quickly reaching a point where the light output is greater than it would have been without treatment. This way the average light output over the service life of the lamp remains higher with an ESS lighting controller installed.
Waveform Modification of Lighting Products
There are three practical ways for ESS to reduce the voltage applied thru its lighting controllers. They all affect the sin wave of the supply voltage but in different ways.
The IllumiLiner uses a waveform modification known as “chopping”. This method holds off the rise of the voltage waveform for a present time then allows it to instantaneously jump to the correct voltage level of that moment. This is also known as leading edge modification of the waveform. This process saves energy but does not work with every type of ballast. In addition it does introduce a very minor amount of harmonic distortion into the system.
The EuroLiner also modifies the waveform, but in a different way. It “shaves” off the top portion of the wave thereby not allowing full waveform creation. This method works with every ballast type and saves energy but is not adjustable in the amounts of energy saved as it comes preset from the factory.
LVR ( Lighting voltage regulator)
The third form of waveform modification chops the trailing edge of the voltage waveform to reduce energy consumption. By allowing the waveform to be totally and completely created before chopping off the trailing edge, the intensity, spectrum and light output are left undisturbed. The lamp put out its full light and spectrum before the waveform is chopped. After chopping off the wave, the phosphoresce of the gas discharge lamp keeps the light level higher than either of the two preceding method. This enables you to take greater reductions in energy before you begin to noticeable affect the light levels. This product has been tested with various ballast type and appears to work well with them all.
Voltage Reduction and Electric Motors
Another misunderstood area of electrical operations is the impact of supply voltage on the operation of
electric motors. Positions on this topic range from firm belief that the motor nameplate ratings must always be observed, to the belief that actively varying the voltage to a motor, based on load conditions, is a perfectly acceptable practice. Who’s right? As with so many areas of dispute, the truth lies somewhere in the middle of the two extreme views. First, under certain conditions motors operate just fine with supply voltage outside the normal 10% of manufacturer’s nameplate recommendations. Secondly, the extreme voltage variations created by the online voltage reduction systems are generally too drastic, and can cause more harm than good. As with lighting, a little voltage variation can be a good thing, but too much is bad.
Heavily and Lightly Loaded Motors
There are lightly loaded and heavily loaded motors. A lightly loaded motor is one that is working only to a small portion of its rated capacity while a heavily loaded motor is working at close to full capacity. Lightly loaded motors waste more electricity than heavily loaded motors. For this discussion we will consider a motor with a running power factor of less than 0.70 and a modest starting torque to be lightly loaded. We will consider motors with higher power factors or heavy start up torque requirements to be heavily loaded. The effects of supply voltage reductions are very different on these two types of electric motors. Of course here we are referring to AC motors.
Heavily Loaded Motors Most motors face two entirely separate operating loads: starting loads, and running loads. Some face extremely heavy mechanical loads when they initially start up. High inertia shaft driven equipment can cause a motor to demand as much as 10 times its normal running current as they are starting to rotate. They require every last bit or rotational power to accelerate through the needed starting of the attached equipment. Sometimes such high start up load motors will settle into seemingly under loaded condition after the initial mechanical inertia is overcome, and the attached equipment is at full rotation. However this condition does not necessarily ensure that the motor is a candidate for supply voltage reduction at this time. If the heavy load of the motor is subject to being cycled on and off, with the motor facing the unloading and re-loading of the heavy shaft load, this motor is definitely not a candidate for voltage reduction. Reducing the voltage to a cyclically loaded motor creates moments when the motor’s magnetic flux is drastically reduced. When the heavy load is reapplied to the motor, it must suddenly take up the load and drive it to full rotation. Without the benefit of the full magnetic field flux this will lead to early motor failure and increased energy consumption. There are several devices on the market that purport to save electrical cost by actively controlling the supply voltage to motors by sensing the motor load in real time. The concept is fundamentally
flawed as they are always lagging somewhat behind the actual needs of the motor. This leads to premature bearing wear and failure. ESS does not make or sell such devices.
Lightly Loaded Motors
Applying these voltage control devices to lightly loaded motors can be very effective, but are too expensive to be cost effective. When electrical testing of a motor start up cycle and the motor’s running power factor prove that the motor is truly lightly loaded, then supply voltage reduction can easily create significant voltage savings, and cause little on no negative side effects. However this determination requires that unique motor testing is done for every motor considered for such treatment. So, there is no “off the shelf” product or solution that can be automatically applied. Gaining benefits from this type of application is truly a customized application.
Active and Reactive Power
All motors, whether lightly or heavily loaded motors require two types of electrical power to operate. “Active” power is the power consumed to rotate the armature to create the work being done. “Re-active” power is the power borrowed from the electric company to cause the rotation of the magnetic field in the motor. Without this re-active power the magnetic field would not rotate and the armature would not turn, consequently no work would be done. However this re-active power is not consumed. It is just dissipated in the form of heat throughout the entire electrical distribution system. You do not pay for re-active power, but you do pay for the affects of re-active power in two ways. Power factor penalties and increased amperage draw caused by the increased resistance through heat caused by the dissipation of the re-active power throughout the electrical system. Most electric companies charge a power factor penalty based on the percentage of active power provide versus the re-active power provided. The more reactive power they have to provide your customer, the higher the penalty. ESS installs several products to eliminate the need for the electric company to provide re-active power.
Re-active power causes increased wattage heat losses throughout the entire electrical distribution system of the facility. By eliminating the effects of the re-active power we reduce the amount of the active power needed to do the work. Hence the consumption of watts through the revenue meter is decreased and the electric bill is reduced.
Electric companies push hard for the installation of capacitors at the main service inlet to facilities. This reduces the effect of the re-active current in the distribution lines to the facility, benefiting the electric company. However it does nothing for the facility itself, other than having the electric company drop the power factor penalty charge from the customer’s bill. The re-active current is still causing the same problems within the facility itself. ESS’s products, when installed properly at the loads, eliminate the effect of the reactive power throughout the plant, reducing KW consumption, thereby reducing the electric bill. This is called canceling reactive current. We also eliminate the power factor penalty!
Harmonic (Distortion) Current
Nonlinear equipment is another load segment that is growing rapidly in today’s business. This is different from inductive motors in that the voltage and current sine waves do not overlap. They arrive at different times to the loads, called out of phase. This out of phase condition of referred to as harmonic imbalance or distortion. Harmonic current is made up of current drawn at frequencies well above the frequency of the utility company’s electrical supply. And it is this rapidly growing segment that is responsible for demanding this harmonic current through a facility’s electrical distribution system. Often the very equipment that is purchased to reduce energy costs increases the harmonic current demand. Computers, UPS systems, office equipment, PLC’s, variable frequency AC motor, DC drives, rectifiers, arc lighting (HID), arc heating and induction heating. These are the demanders of today’s harmonic current. And, because as much as 80% of the connected electrical load in many businesses is made of this group of loads, the costs being paid in wasted energy is dramatic. Often as much as 30% of the entire electric bill is directly attributable to the harmonic power drawn by these non linear loads being dissipated as heat loss in the distribution system. Harmonic current demand and the resulting harmonic power consumed by nonlinear loads is normally referred to as “harmonics”. However the root issue addressed by an ESS is the absolute amount of harmonic current being demanded through the circuits and the entire electrical distribution system. When we cancel the effects of any harmonic imbalances we reduce the wattage heat loss in the distribution system, and hence reduce the kW consumption of the entire facility. It takes a qualified field staff person to do thorough site measurements to establish correct product treatments.
Reducing the Power Demands of Refrigeration and A/C
We have three different tools available for reducing the energy demands of refrigeration and air conditioning systems. First we can apply reactive current cancellation with the ESSLiner or MultiLiner to motor loads. Secondly, we can introduce a polarized refrigerant oil additive (PROA) into the compressor unit. And thirdly, on units over 20 tons, we can introduce the installation of a final condenser unit. These three units can reduce wattage consumption upwards of 20% to 30%. Motor treatment here is the same as any inductive AC motor, with the same savings results.
The Components of an ESS
The ESS is not just the simple application of “one size fits all” of the shelf products. It is a concentrated approach to the whole facility’s electrical distribution system for improved efficiency and reliability. It is our collective expertise bringing a full range of ESS measures to bear as a one-time turnkey project for our customers.