With a whole host of energy efficiency technologies and solutions available today, it can be difficult to know exactly which one will yield the best results. Here, Tony Longstaff, marketing manager at e- fficient Energy Systems, highlights three guaranteed ways to reduce your electricity usage and reduce your electricity bills.

Many of us will have fallen to the latest diet craze and invested time and money in trying to lose weight and create the perfect body – but in reality we know deep down that there is no simple fix and that the only real solution is to eat fewer calories than we burn up during the day. Crazy cabbage soup diets, two day fasts or no-carb diets only have a momentary effect and unless we reduce our intake to a level below what we are burning off the reality is that the pounds will pile back on – reducing electricity usage is exactly the same.

With continually rising energy prices there is renewed focus on how to identify proven ways to drive down electricity usage. The problem is there are too many ‘magic bullet’ and ‘snake oil’ salesmen banging on your door with their latest cure-all solution to the urgent objective to reduce your electricity usage.

Investing in the latest new fad rarely delivers long term results but there are three guaranteed ways to reduce your electricity usage and reduce your electricity bills.

1. Monitoring & targeting (M&T)

The latest intelligent monitoring & targeting (M&T) technology is a key tool in understanding existing usage and identifying which areas can deliver savings.

M&T meters accurately measure, monitor and enable you to manage your energy usage. It builds on the principle ‘you can’t manage what you don’t measure’ and analyses and manages energy meter inputs, presenting them in clear user friendly dashboard and often simple to use, Excel formats.

Simple systems can give you a clear picture of a building’s base loads and real time energy usage characteristics accurately measuring base load and energy consumption trends, but by adding further sub- meters there is virtually no limit to the degree of detail that is possible to be measured, monitored and managed.

Pretty much whatever you wish can be measured with the latest M&T technology whether it is electricity, gas or water, and with sub- metering one can drill down to understand the real time usage down to individual equipment. And of course by being able to measure usage one can then effectively reduce it.

2. Variable speed drives

Variable speed drives are simple compact systems which adjust a motor’s speed and torque to closely match output requirements, rather than just running at full speed all the time. They save money and target individual fans, motors, pumps and aircon systems in all buildings and across 1,000s of applications.

Variable speed drives, also known as VSDs or inverters, when fitted to AC induction motors, will reduce the electricity they use and cut your energy costs – fact.

And because the relationship between the motor’s operation and electricity usage is not linear, there is a greater saving possible. 

Using a VSD to slow a fan or pump motor from 100% to 80% can save as much as 50% of the energy used.

VSDs offer significant savings in electricity consumed and can be applied in most applications where a motor is employed.

Sounds simple – and they are – simple and effective. And every fan, pump or HVAC motor above 1.1kW needs a VSD.

3. Voltage Management

Voltage management systems are a more holistic approach compared with VSDs, as they deliver savings across the whole building rather than just individual electrical motors.

Voltage Management works because the UK mains voltage is on average 242V whereas most electrical equipment is designed to operate most effectively at 220V. Reducing this high incoming mains voltage delivers reduced electricity bills and many other benefits.

e-fficient Energy’s eVO+R Voltage Optimisation plus Regulation systems deliver up to 30% higher savings than basic step-down VO systems and offer:

  • True voltage management usually down to 220V.
  • Voltage that is intelligently optimised and regulated – not just reduced by a fixed percentage like most voltage optimisation systems available.
  • Maximum savings possible and delivers a clean regulated voltage.
  • A guaranteed return on investment.

The Carbon Trust advocates all of these three technologies and approaches to drive down energy usage and carbon footprints.