In recent years, scientists and the United Nations released a critical report that stated that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced almost by half by 2030 to prevent global environmental catastrophe. To avoid the most adverse effects of global warming, scientists have stated that we need to see a significant move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy and introduce new technology to offset the increasing impacts.
This report presents an alarming view of our future if immediate action is not taken by individuals and corporations. Organizations are responsible for looking after their shareholders both financially and from an environmental perspective. Therefore, they must take a long-term view and base purchasing decisions on reducing environmental impact. In this way, we can all play a part in contributing to change.
Considering the Operational Efficiency when Investing in a UPS
When purchasing a UPS, several environmental factors need to be considered. First, the operational efficiency of the UPS must be a priority, as a 1% loss in efficiency for a 100kW UPS operating continuously for a year would waste 1kW of energy per hour, equating to £8,760 over ten years. Therefore, selecting the most efficient UPS is essential to minimize the carbon footprint.
Another important factor is right sizing the UPS, as the IT power requirement in most organizations changes over time. Scalability and flexibility are essential considerations when purchasing to ensure the continual right sizing of the UPS. Additionally, battery technology plays a vital role, as VLRA batteries used in UPS start to degrade at above 20°C, leading to an increase in battery replacement costs, air conditioning requirements, and environmental costs. Li-ion battery technology offers a higher purchase price, but it can operate at higher ambient temperatures, reducing the need for air conditioning and reducing carbon footprint. Li-ion batteries also have a much longer useful working life.
Maintenance is also an important factor when purchasing a UPS. The least expensive UPS are usually built with the cheapest components, which have much higher repair and maintenance costs and cost more money in the long run. A top-quality UPS will need only one capacitor change in 15 years, whereas an inferior solution will typically need three capacitor changes plus three sets of replacement VLRA batteries in 15 years. Commercial UPS installations can learn from Industrial UPS installations where >25 years’ working life is normal for a UPS.
Making a Good, Environmental Decision
Purchase decision makers must consider the bigger environmental picture when selecting a UPS. Increased efficiency and lower total cost of ownership are linked, and the most environmentally friendly systems enjoy ongoing operating cost savings. Therefore, the correct decision-making process for purchasing a UPS includes selecting the most efficient, right-sized, and long-lasting system that will reduce carbon footprint, environmental costs, and long-term operating expenses.