Climate change, are businesses prepared?

Power Control
25 Jul 2019

We have all seen the direct impact of climate change, not only is it causing extreme temperatures across the globe, it is also increasing the frequency of heavy down pours causing localised flooding and electrical storms, causing power outages.

Although there has been an increased uptake of critical power supplies across businesses, this is primarily down to the sensitivity of the grid. Not all businesses are taking in to account the effects that global warming may be having on their critical power infrastructures.

Lightning from electrical storms is a common cause of power outages either by directly striking electrical equipment or by striking trees, which may fall onto power lines and cause outages.

Additionally, more often than not, storms and heavy rain go hand in hand. Heavy rains can cause flash flooding in localised areas leading to damage to electrical equipment both above and below ground. To prevent further damage, the national grid may need to shut down the equipment, affecting power supply to some areas.

If the outage affects a business’ mains power supply, there will not be enough warning to perform a safe equipment shutdown without the assistance of a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply).

Not only do UPS systems keep the power on during the outage, they also help to protect vital equipment from power surges with an automatic voltage regulator. This guarantees a pure sinewave output, meaning the electricity flow remains at a constant state.

For businesses that have a UPS system already installed, it is important to remember that they contain fragile electronical components requiring stable and precise environmental conditions, specified by each UPS manufacturer.

Extreme temperature is the most common causes of battery degradation, on average UPS manufacturers quote a battery operating temperature of 20-25⁰C and for every 5⁰C over, the life of the battery reduces by 50%.

To prevent overheating, a UPS requires adequate ventilation and cooling, with environmental temperature on the incline, it is recommended that the UPS is installed or moved to a temperature controlled room with humidity monitoring.

Data centres are also monitoring the effects of climate change. Results from the 2019 Uptime institute Data Centre Survey have shown an increase in the number of data centre owners re-evaluating flood risk, site selection and their ability to deal with rising temperatures, compared with last year.

Installing a UPS, or upgrading to a modern UPS can also offer opportunities for energy saving and reducing a business’ environmental impact.

Companies qualifying for participation in the Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (Esos) will already have to identify energy saving opportunities and although there is no legal requirement to implement such opportunities, companies often do so to reduce their energy use where possible.

Modern, transformerless UPS systems such as those from Italian UPS manufacturer, Borri Spa, are far more efficient than legacy units due to the substantial reductions in heat losses and energy running costs.

Boosting UPS efficiency to 99% is also made possible with ECO-Mode functions. Careful consideration of the critical load and site conditions should be given before using this mode, as well as improving efficiency, this mode does carry risks.

Power Control supply a range of UPS systems including those with ECO-mode function. For more information email or call the office on 01246 431431

It is not only important for businesses to be prepared for climate change, but is also important for them to reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint where possible.

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