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Best practice case study: The easy way to optimize voltage and savings

While the customers at Modetreff Oldemeier shop for the latest addition to their closet, the switching cabinet and energy efficiency system smooth out voltage fluctuations in the power grid. (Copyright: Oldemeier)

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Fashion house saves power thanks to voltage optimization system

The boom in renewable energies means that the voltage in the power grid is rising and is more prone to fluctuations. A specially developed energy efficiency system allows businesses, offices, schools and many other institutions to protect their equipment against these fluctuations. The system cuts down on power consumption while extending the life span of electrical devices.

When a customer is shopping for clothes and finds something they like, the lighting in the shop can be an important factor in whether or not they decide to buy. So saving electricity at the expense of lighting quality is out of the question in the fashion industry. The fashion outlet Modetreff Oldemeier in Lübbecke-Nettelstedt, North Rhine-Westphalia, has found another way to achieve major savings on its electricity costs. A few years ago, the business installed a voltage optimization system which enabled it to cut its previous energy costs of over €23,400 by almost €3,000 in the first twelve months of operation.

The system uses a specially developed autotransformer with filtering and choking effects, produced by Bürkle + Schöck in Stuttgart. This Swabian family business has over 85 years of experience in transformer production. The autotransformer is sold exclusively by Pluss GmbH in Dettelbach, Bavaria, whose team of engineers specializes in electrical engineering and measuring quality technology.

Meet legal requirements and more with a single system

The handmade transformers use a special winding technique to drastically reduce harmonics and mains feedback. They function as energy efficiency systems which meet the specifications of the AR-E 2055-1 guideline recommended by the VDE (Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies). This guideline describes how electrical energy efficiency can be increased using energy regulators in line with the principle of voltage reduction. Energy regulators also provide the necessary overvoltage protection – which has been compulsory in all new residential and commercial buildings as well as schools and offices since last December in accordance with the standards DIN VDE 0100-443 and -534.

Renewables increase grid voltage

Like all domestic grid connections, the regular grid voltage at Modetreff Oldemeier can legally fluctuate between 207 and 253 V. But 207–220 V would be enough for the lighting and other electrical loads in the fashion house. The boom in renewable energies means that voltage fluctuations are becoming more pronounced due to sporadic excesses of wind and solar power. This unnecessary excess voltage reduces the life span of electrical appliances and machines while increasing power consumption and heat generation.

The energy efficiency system smooths out the fluctuations in voltage and optimizes the power input and output of electrical equipment. It also reduces harmonics and compensates reactive power. A voltage management system reduces the peak load (kW) by up to 15 percent and power consumption (kWh) by 8 to 15 percent. An additional module can enable energy savings of up to 35 percent for conventional lamps. An integrated bypass ensures seamless power switching for 100 percent operating safety. Overvoltage protection is optional.

The system is suitable for all types of commercial and industrial operations, service providers and institutions. It can generate energy savings of up to 30 percent for pumps, up to 25 percent for compressed-air plants, up to 20 percent for refrigerating plants and process heat, and up to 14 percent for ventilation systems. The energy efficiency system is installed downstream of the connection line and electricity meter and upstream of the main distribution panel or sub-distribution unit. This means that no permission is required from regional utilities or electricity providers. Depending on the individual property’s peak-shaving operation and the fuse rating required, the switching cabinet can be configured for amperages between 50 and 6,000 A.

The voltage optimizer is particularly advantageous for businesses which generate their own decentralized power using photovoltaics, a cogeneration plant or a wind energy plant. These generation processes lead to high, fluctuating voltages. Installing an energy efficiency system downstream of the main distribution panel prevents negative effects on electrical equipment, including a reduced life span and increased power consumption.

Invest a little, save a lot

Modetreff Oldemeier has just one small system, which is wall-mounted to save space. With electricity costs reduced by around €250 per month, the device paid for itself in just two years. As it is designed for a service life of over 30 years – with a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty – the head of Modetreff Oldemeier is expecting to save tens of thousands of euros thanks to the energy efficiency system and is happy to recommend it to other companies.

By Simone Pabst

For more information, please visit the website of PLUSS GmbH