The increasing costs of energy has led many businesses to look for strategies to help them increase their energy efficiency, reducing their electricity bills accordingly.
There are a variety of different solutions on the market, for example solar power, LED lighting and programmable thermostats. These are all well and good and can have a significant impact on your power bills, however there is another solution on the market that actually helps your business to use electricity more efficiently.
To use this approach you will need to understand how your business actually uses the electricity that is delivered to your building, by the utility company. This is achieved by assessing a specific measurement call the Power Factor.
What is a Power Factor?
Essentially, the Power Factor is a measurement between 0.00 and 1.00 that indicates how well your electrical system uses power. The higher this measurement, the more efficient your energy usage.
If you think about it, when your electricity bill lands on your doorstep, you are not paying for electricity that you have used, but for electricity that has been delivered to your commercial premises. If there is a difference between what was delivered and what was used, this indicates wastage and it is this disparity that the Power Factor identifies.
For the techies of the world, the Power Factor is the ratio of real working power (kW) to apparent power (kVA) and a ratio above 0.95 is ideal. Anything less than this and you are paying too much on your electricity bills.
Why do these energy disparities exist?
In a perfect world these disparities wouldn’t exist and your Power Factor would equal 1.0, meaning that your energy usage would be perfect. This simply doesn’t happen and is due to equipment such as electrical motors, fluorescent lighting and welding apparatus that create an inductive load when they are in operation.
This inductive load requires a magnetic field to operate and two different types of current are therefore required: working power and reactive power. The working power is the actual electricity needed to run the equipment, whilst the reactive power is needed to sustain the magnetic field. Together, the working power and the reactive power equals the apparent power, which is used in the Power Factor calculations.
For example, if you have a large piece of equipment that uses 110kW of working power, but the apparent power that it actually uses is 130 kVA, the Power Factor would equal 110/130 = 0.85, which is significantly less than 1.0.
What can you do about a Power Factor disparity?
To reduce your energy bills and increase your energy efficiency, you need to fully utilise the electricity that you are being charged for in your bills. This means that you need to decrease your reactive power wastage, which in turn will increase your Power Factor and your energy efficiency, and decrease your energy bills accordingly.
To achieve this outcome, you need to install Power Factor Correction Capacitors in your electrical distribution system. These capacitors generate extra reactive power, reducing the apparent power required and hence, the overall electricity you need to draw on to operate your inductive loads.
In reality, these capacitors increase the energy efficiency of your electrical distribution system, effectively reducing your energy bills, whilst at the same time increasing the capacity of your system. Inductive loads also operate more efficiently with a high Power Factor which in turn, means less wear and tear on the equipment, increasing its life.
For a FREE Power Factor assessment of your electrical distribution system, call WES Group on 1300 937 353 or complete our online enquiry form.