Voltage Power Optimisation lighting the way to energy efficiency

by FM Media
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When confronted with the arrival of larger and more established national chains, Rigters IGA was in need of further measures to conserve energy in order to maintain the business’ economic sustainability. With a proactive approach to sustainability, John and his Wife Beryl Rigter had already installed LED lights and 160 solar panels in 2012, reducing their electricity costs by roughly $3000 per month. However with three stores and 45 years’ experience in the supermarket business in Geraldton, Perth, the Rigters were looking to make additional savings.

To help achieve this, Rigters called on the team at Forum Enviro to install powerPerfector VPO units at each of their stores. This involved the fitting of a 690kVA unit at its largest store Queens, and 280kVA units at the Wonthella and Supa IGA stores, which have smaller energy profiles. All three units were dynamic VPO units, equipped to deal with the frequent ‘brown-outs’ that occur in summer months.

The dynamic VPO has been a highly effective solution as it is able to adapt to changing voltage conditions to give an optimised output in a fixed band. The VPO has also performed well in conjunction with the existing solar PV, by preventing the PV from feeding in power at too high a voltage.

Stuart Bain, Rigters IGA Operations Manager, was impressed with the level of service. “Throughout the whole process of being presented with the opportunity to install the VPO units, right the way through until post installation the Forum Enviro team were extremely helpful, professional and offered all the information we needed to make an informed decision and to get the job done quickly and efficiently, with minimum disruption to the business, “ Bain said.

In terms of cost savings, the results of the installation have been outstanding, reducing Rigters’ energy consumption by approximately $70,000 per year. The result is not only economically sustainable but environmentally sustainable too, slashing annual carbon emissions by 285 tonnes and achieving an overall reduction in energy demand of 7.9 percent.

The Rigter’s case study demonstrates the importance of sustainable practices for energy intensive businesses like supermarkets. Heavy and constant lighting, heating, cooling and freezing means high energy consumption will remain an environmental and operational focus for supermarkets. And whilst companies acknowledge the tension between energy efficiency and business growth, there is an underlying expectation that investments in energy efficiency will achieve a reasonable return on investment.

With the increased adoption of technology, supermarkets are under more pressure than ever to bundle multiple energy savings measures to reduce energy consumption and costs. However, making sure new technology is compatible with old systems and processes can be a frustrating experience. The benefit of technology like a VPO unit is its ability to regulate and control the energy supplied at source to lower consumption and protect vital electrical infrastructure. This means the unit will only enhance, not hinder, already existing sustainable measures.

Retailers often expect energy management solutions to bring sustained savings, especially as energy prices continue to be a significant cost to the business. Fortunately for supermarkets, reports have calculated a 10 per cent reduction in energy costs for the average supermarket can be the equivalent to increasing net profit margins by 16 per cent[1]. Interestingly, companies that have developed ‘green stores’ are more likely to adopt and test new technologies and approaches to energy efficiency[2]. The reality is through the adoption of green technologies businesses can not only reduce their environmental impact but improve their bottom line.

For more information, go to www.forumenviro.com.au

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