Wednesday, January 17, 2018
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Reduce Energy Consumption by 50% … Is it reality???

There are two fundamental flaws with the approach of energy conservation as it stands. First is that there is a very large difference between what we as consumers use to produce the workload we require (kilo Watts) and what the utility is required to generate (kilo Volt-Amperes) in order to meet this demand. The difference is known as Power Factor, or the measure of electrical efficiency. You may already be familiar with this concept. In order to reduce KW, we require more efficient technologies to be developed and implemented. This costs us valuable resources, including energy. The ironic part is that the emphasis is placed on what consumers see as a reduction but the generation of energy has really been left in the dark.

Oddly enough the technology exists, and has for decades, to improve the Power Factor (or level of efficiency) where we can realize a reduction the amount of energy generators are required to produce (KVA) while providing the same workload (KW) to the customers. This means more available power to use, if necessary, to begin developing new products which focus on reductions at the consumer end of things.

The second problem relates more to the lighting side of things you mentioned in your article. Although we may be reducing KW by implementing new lighting solutions, these bulbs require electronic ballasts. The use of solid state electronics has introduced yet another ingredient into our energy pot in the form of Harmonics. Harmonic disturbances can adversely affect both the equipment itself along with any other piece of equipment on the electrical system causing decreases in lifespan, poor performance and even catastrophic failures. In the long run, the proliferation of events like this will have much greater effect on us than using a little extra power to light our homes.

Once the threshold of 5% THD (total harmonic distortion) has been reached, further increases will begin to effect efficiency. For every 2% increase over 5%THD, consumption is increased by about 0.5%.

Example 1

We have a facility that uses 2 million kWh of electricity a month where approximately 10% of the load is lighting (about 200,000 kWh). The facility is already operating at 5% THD, which is quite common and still within accepted practices. Some new lighting with electronic ballasts were installed which should reduce the lighting load by about 40% or 80,000 kWh. These lights then increase the harmonic distortion by about 8% for a total of 13% THD. This increase doesn’t just apply to the lights, but the entire facility. The 8% increase in THD will then equate to an increase of about 4% of the total consumption or about 80,000 kWh.

In this instance, all of the energy that the lighting change saved was then lost again by the harmonics these very same lights are generating. Doesn’t make much sense does it? Especially considering a premium was paid to have the lighting installed. There is now no energy saved and the lights never pay for themselves!

Ok, so I agree that there have been advances in technology and that this is only a hypothetical situation. But it also only considers the lights and not other devices that are generating harmonics as well. All too often, harmonics distortion levels are in the range of 20%, 30% and even 40%.

The harsh reality is that it is unlikely for us to reduce the amount of energy we’re consuming by some 50% whether we change our thinking or not, at least for the near future. What we need to consider is how we can begin to use our energy more efficiently and in doing so, ensure we are not creating a whole other world of problems. Only when we understand how to use our energy properly will we be able to reduce our energy consumption by anything significant.

Are You Can Do It???? Hope sooo..!!! :)

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