Power Factor Correction | Parkridge Apartments

Parkridge Apartments
  • 120 residential lots
  • 6 commercial lots
  • Completed 1981
  • 15 residential floors
  • 2 lifts
  • Outdoor pool, heated in winter

Installing a Power Factor Correction unit and changing fluorescent light tubes from T8 tubes (magnetically ballasted) to electronically ballasted T5's saves Parkridge $1,400 pa and payback was 2.8 years.

Summary

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Power Factor Correction Unit

Power Factor Correction Unit

Parkridge installed a 37.5 kVAr Power Factor Correction Unit on the main switchboard at a total cost of $3,950 (ex-GST) including installation, commissioning and a 3-year warranty. 

The building’s power factor now averages 0.95 and network charges are projected to decrease by approximately $1,400 per annum (at 2012 rates). The payback period is 2.8 years.

Background

Parkridge had a very poor power factor, which could be as low as 0.45 during peak demand periods.

The executive committee had investigated power factor correction as early as 2009, but at that stage the paypack period was too long to warrant the investment.

The power factor improved in early 2011 after a large-scale upgrade of magnetically ballasted T8 fluorescent lights to electronically ballasted T5s.

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Power Factor graph February to April 2011

Graph of Power Factor before & after lighting upgrade

It deteriorated in late 2011 after the failure of variable speed drives on mechanical exhaust fans.

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Power Factor graph November-December 2011

Graph of Power Factor before & after VSD failures

Parkridge participated in the pilot of the City of Sydney’s Smart Green Apartments program. The energy audit conducted through that program in 2012 highlighted the poor power factor and detailed a business case for power factor correction. The price of power factor correction had decreased and network charges had increased since the 2009 analysis. The payback was now definitely attractive.

Results

The power factor correction unit was installed on 30th April 2013. The improvement to an acceptable level was immediate. The building’s power factor now averages 0.95 and network charges are projected to decrease by approximately $1,400 per annum (at 2012 rates). The payback period is 2.8 years.

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Power Factor graph with Power Factor Correction

Power Factor before & after installtion of Power Factor Correction Unit

Rebates & Incentives

When the business case was first presented the value of Energy Saving Certificates (ESCs) under the NSW Energy Savings Scheme was $25.50 and the rebate would have been in the order of $76.50. It would have limited effect on the payback period and it was also unlikely that any ACPs would not undertake the application for such a low ESC rebate. By the time the unit was installed, certificate values had fallen even further and so no rebate was pursued.

Last Updated: 
Thu 08/08/2013

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