Voltage optimisation

The University's voltage optimisation programme saves 1,500 tonnes of CO2 a year, reducing both electricity costs and CO2 emissions.

The electrical voltage within the UK has always been supplied towards the higher end of the necessary range, but nowadays devices can run effectively on much lower voltages. Installing optimisation transformers, or adjusting existing transformers where possible, avoids drawing unnecessarily high current, reducing both electricity costs and CO2 emissions.

Several areas across the University were experiencing high voltage, so between 2010 and 2012, we improved energy efficiency by adding voltage optimisation units to newer transformers, and replacing older transformers with ultra low loss units set to lower voltages. We carried out the programme across a range of University buildings, including on the main campus, Langford, Coombe Dingle, the Victoria Rooms, and the Stoke Bishop halls of residence.

Reducing both CO2 emissions and spending on energy

The project saves around 3GWh of electricity per year, which equates to 1,500 tonnes of CO2, representing 3 per cent of total emissions from our buildings. Avoiding drawing unnecessary electricity also saves us £280,000 a year in energy bills, and, as the optimising transformers don’t need any further investment once installed, the project will keep on providing returns in the future.

Results highlights

We're saving 1,500 tonnes of CO2 and £280,000 in energy bills per year.

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