Power outages can occur due to extreme weather conditions, such as tornadoes, cyclones, heavy rain, lightning, earthquakes, etc. Other causes may be a short circuit, damage to electric transmission lines, and faults at power stations.
During heatwaves, electric cables and transformers may fail as well Or, A vehicle colliding into a utility pole can also cause power outages. Moreover, squirrels, snakes, and birds can also cause short circuits, thereby causing a blackout.
As you can see, there are numerous reasons for power outages. Sp, running a business is not completely safe until you have a backup power generator installed on company premises.
Which generator is the right one for your business?
The Right Generator for Commercial Buildings
Large generators are ideal for factories, retail outlets, and industrial buildings. In the event of a power outage, a large generator is able to supply backup power to the entire building. Plus, it can keep running until the power comes back on.
Usually, these types of generators start automatically when the power goes out and stops itself when it returns. This is an advantage for all businesses, as downtime can result in heavy losses.
If this feature was not available, important equipment in the building would not be able to run and people may not be able to see to do their jobs.
Standby generators are useful to keep running sump pumps, fire safety systems, elevators, and emergency lighting. A large generator of 1000kW is ideal for large commercial facilities, while smaller businesses require generators of less power.
Therefore, businesses are recommended to use commercial standby generators to keep things running in case of a blackout.
How to Pick the Right Generator for Commercial Facilities
The market is full of various types of generators. How will you know which one is right for your business?
The type of fuel for your generator is based on the size of the premises and the area’s seismic classification. Natural gas is less expensive than other types of fuel, such as diesel and gasoline.
Natural gas is the best option if your generator uses 150 to 175kW of power. However, for a generator with a capacity of 350kW or more, diesel is more cost-effective. Large generators need high horsepower to operate efficiently.
The reason natural gas is so popular is that it doesn’t have to be stored in large quantities, and it doesn’t require signing a fuel contract as does diesel and gasoline.
Noise and Vibration
Most backup power generators produce noise and vibration that may be troublesome. Outdoor generators placed far away from the office building create no problem for those insides.
It may get noisy in a residential neighborhood though. Noise laws in residential regions are more restrictive than commercial areas, so you should be careful.
The noise may not be a big deal during normal business hours, but it may become an issue in the evening or overnight. By restricting operational hours to business hours, you can overcome noise complaints and get zoning permits.
To keep the noise away from people, place the generator in data centers, storage rooms, and loading docks. Some people use a muffler or silencer to reduce the noise from the generator.
The size of the infrastructure can influence the voltage requirement of the generator. A business that operates with a multitude of computers, servers and equipment needs a generator that can take on that load.
Find the incoming voltage rating of your office building to figure out the right generator for your facility. A professional electrician can also help you identify the right generator for your needs.
To understand your power requirements, you can use a simple formula using a square foot measurement system.
For a retail business, use kW = 5kW + 10 Watts per square feet.
For commercial facilities, use kW = 30kW + 5 Watts per square feet.
Standby or Portable
A portable backup power generator is good for a small business. It costs less, and it can be used occasionally or during emergency blackouts.
On the other hand, big business should invest in a standby backup power generator. It is costlier than a portable generator, but it lasts a long time and requires less maintenance.
Moreover, a portable generator needs to be turned on and off manually. But a standby generator can turn on immediately when the power goes out and also turn off when the power returns.
You can place the generator both indoors and outdoors. But make sure the noise and vibration are not disturbing the people inside the building and around the vicinity.
Some people prefer to place their generators behind a wall or landscaping to reduce visibility. However, you must keep adequate space around the generator so that air can flow around it.
Maintenance and cleaning the generator is an important factor. Ensure the generator is clean and well-maintained throughout the year, wherever it is located.
A generator may be located indoors where the outdoor climate is too cold. It keeps the unit at the starting temperature. In case you decide to keep your generator indoors, it must have a two-hour fire rating and a sprinkler system installed.
For areas susceptible to flooding, it is better to place the generator in the penthouse or the roof. The penthouse and roof can keep the generator at a starting temperature during cold weather.
On the flip side, vibration may be an issue when the generator is placed in a higher area.
Other Facts to Consider
You don’t want the exhaust gases reaching the building’s HVAC system, which is of high concern. Generally, the exhaust must be 25 feet away from the HVAC air intake system.
The larger the facility, the larger the generator and the HVAC system. Careful design can help prevent potential problems.
Furthermore, staff training is essential when you are installing a new generator for your office building. You should clearly mark the emergency shut-off button.
If your generator operates with diesel, make sure it has emergency fuel stored up. Moreover, the user manual, instructions, and maintenance schedule should be properly organized and stored for reference.
Installing a backup power generator is a big investment that will last for 20 years or more if properly looked after. Having no generator on the premises is going to cause you more anxiety than having one.
Unpredictable changes in climate are affecting the weather as well. Considering how fast-paced the market is these days, a few days of downtime can become a reason for a huge loss in businesses.
Therefore, take into consideration all the points discussed above when you are looking for the perfect generator for your business. In addition, conduct your own research and consult with professionals before purchasing a new backup power generator.