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University of Portsmouth3450_uni-of-ports-2 - - becky

Voltage Management Investigation at Burnaby Road Campus

“I thoroughly recommend The Green Consultancy and look forward to the project implementation and further studies by them.”

Ian McCormack, Energy and Environment Manager


The UniversityFront of the University

The University dates from 1908 and was granted university status in 1992. It states: “We are determined to create a low-carbon future. We do this by inspiring and motivating staff and students to commit to be mindful of environmental sustainability in all they do. Initiatives to support this ambition include the management of the University’s energy consumption, recycling and waste management, a ‘green building challenge’, sustainable construction projects, a procurement code of practice and a travel plan.”

The challenge

The University’s Carbon Management Plan (CMP) committed it to reducing its CO2 emissions by 30% between 2011 and 2016; the equivalent of 17,181 tonnes of CO2.

The Burnaby Road Campus is one of the major academic and administrative areas of the University. It uses electricity for a wide range of purposes including lighting, ventilation, heating, refrigeration, information technology, mechanical services and research related functions. In the previous year, the electricity use on the campus was 3,672,000 kWh, which equates to around 1,900 tonnes of CO2 and, including CRC, cost the university £424,000.

The CMP identified Voltage Optimisation as an opportunity for reducing the university’s electricity consumption by installing secondary transformers on each existing transformer. The resulting savings that would accrue from implementing a voltage management scheme at the Burnaby Road Campus were estimated to be £32,000 or higher, with an equivalent saving of 175 tonnes of CO2, or 3.5% of the carbon reduction target.

The project

University of Portsmouth - side view

Ian McCormack, the University’s Energy and Environment Manager, recognised the importance of obtaining independent professional advice to confirm, or otherwise, the potential savings and identify the most effective solution to realise the best balance of savings and Return on Investment as well as taking into account the longer term use and development of the campus.

The Green Consultancy was selected, based on its clear understanding of the brief and its methodology, to carry out a survey of the site’s voltages, electrical loads and existing transformers.

The solution

Inside the UniversityThe investigation confirmed that there was substantial scope to reduce energy consumption but recommended a far better solution than installing secondary transformers. The campus has individual building transformers with substantial over capacity. Therefore, in order to reduce “standing” losses and reduce voltage by the correct amount The Green Consultancy recommended replacing the current six transformers with two low-loss transformer as follows.

  • One supplying the eastern side of the site where the main buildings supplied are Burnaby, Dennis Sciama and Anglesea.
  • Replacing the existing transformer with a 1,000 kVA low-loss transformer for Anglesea Precinct was considered sufficient to cover the likely requirements of both the revised accommodation and the proposed data centre.
  • Similarly, supplying all four buildings on the western part of the campus from a central 315 kVA low-loss unit transformer with an associated feeder pillar or LV switchboard.

The predicted results

The Green Consultancy estimated that the university will save around 301,000 kWh per year, resulting in a financial saving of £35,000 per year, slightly higher than predicted in the CMP with a payback in the order of four years

The reaction

3448_ianmc140 - John Treble - john“The Green Consultancy’s solution is elegant and maximises energy efficiency at the lowest cost. Salesmen were queuing up to sell us secondary transformers when we already had too many transformers and the result would have been less savings at greater expense. I have always been impressed with The Green Consultancy’s sound scientific and engineering approach to identifying energy reduction opportunities. I thoroughly recommend them and look forward to the project implementation and further studies by them.”
Ian McCormack, Energy and Environment Manager

Put us to the test NOW!  To discuss your requirements please call John Treble on 01761 419081 or email John@GreenConsultancy.com

John Treble

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Put us to the test NOW! To discuss your requirements please call John Treble on 01761 419081 or email

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