Higher education facilities are reliant on uninterrupted power supply to ensure ongoing operation of lighting, communication and security systems, as well protection of data centres. A UPS will offer enhanced power protection for such facilities.
Power demands at educational facilities
The almost-daily reality of load shedding in South Africa, and projected power constraints in future, mean that organisations are having to assess back-up power supply options for continued operations. At educational institutions and higher educational institutions in particular, there are power demands that need to be addressed or risk impacting the country’s economy. These demands include:
- Connectivity – in the form of quality power to the wireless network infrastructure.
- Artificial heating and cooling – this needs to be supplied to living accommodation, lecture halls as well as laboratories, particularly storage facilities.
- Data protection – IT institutions and laboratories running crucial experiments require clean, uninterrupted power supply.
- Data processing – universities require power for administrative data processing and the day-to-day running at various faculties.
- Communication – the global nature of educational institutions means power demands for web conferencing, group mailing and voting systems.
- Security – accessing buildings as well as alarm systems need the continued provision of power.
Back-up power solutions for educational institutes
There are many back-up power solutions available for various industries, but when it comes to education, the combination of an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and back-up generator is the ultimate solution. When there is a power failure from the main grid, the UPS will provide continuous power to valuable equipment, however, the UPS battery is really suited to short-term outages. In the case of the back-up generator, power provision is not immediate, but once it is running it can keep running with enough fuel. The two work together to ensure no lag in power initially, and continuous power indefinitely.
What is UPS power supply?
Basically, a UPS is an electrical device that provides emergency power to a load when the input power source fails. A UPS provides almost instantaneous protection from input power interruptions because it relies on energy stored in batteries.
Benefits of the UPS power supply:
- Extremely reliable power provision
- Environmentally efficient
- Compact design
- Easy installation
- Boasts flexibility and scalability in design (modular UPS)
When considering a UPS power supply for an educational facility, there are certain aspects that need to be considered – in consultation with a reputable supplier. The UPS checklist includes:
1. UPS type – there are many UPS devices suited to different requirements, so it’s important to consider what the UPS needs are.
2. Power capacity – this is measured in volt-amperes (VA) for PC units or kilovolt-amperes (kVA) for enterprise-class UPS systems.
3. Applications – UPS systems have applications to specify automatic actions when there is a power interruption.
4. Alarm capabilities – A UPS can report power problems and send alarms to mobile devices.
What is a generator?
A generator is a device that converts mechanical energy into electrical power for use in an external circuit. These are ideal for providing back-up power to a system in the event of a break from the main circuit.
- Can have Automatic Mains Failure (AMF) detection signal to alert in the case of power problems.
- Can be easily started.
- Electric engine generators provide frequency stability
- Easily installed.
The combination of a UPS and generator as a back-up power supply is essential to the provision of enhanced power to educational facilities, but the chosen devices must have appropriate features and load-supporting capacity required. This will mean no interruption to education despite sudden power outages, spikes or surges.
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