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Voltage Optimisation, Glasgow City Council

Voltage Optimisation, Glasgow City Council

Reducing costs and carbon with voltage optimisation


Voltage Optimisation is an electrical energy saving technique which, when installed in series with the mains electricity supply, will provide a reduced supply voltage to equipment. The technology is best applied to motors and pumps as this is where the greatest savings can be made.

Glasgow City Council, the largest council in Scotland, recognises the need to improve efficiency in its estate. It has committed to a 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 and this was the primary driver for the voltage optimisation project.

 VO Glasgow

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A trial period was undergone at three sites; a school, a depot and an office block. This trial was evaluated to identify any issues and risks, to ensure the wider roll out was successful.

Following the trial, voltage optimisation was installed at 12 large sites. This ‘Phase 1’ began in April 2012 and included leisure centre, schools and a theatre. Phase 2 covered a further 30 sites, with Phase 3 due to include 20 more council sites.

The buildings included in the scheme are a mix of old, new, large and small.


Voltage Optimisation was installed at 65 buildings, including schools, offices, depots, leisure centres, museums and a theatre.


Financial savings of nearly £400,000 a year have been realised, giving an average payback of 4 years.


Efficiency has improved and carbon reductions of more than 2,200tCO2 have been made. The reputation of Glasgow City Council has also improved as a result of the project.

These benefits have been felt with little burden, as the voltage optimisation does not alter the way a building is used or run.


The most significant challenges facing the project related to the complexity of the organisation. This made it difficult to know who to speak to with regards to decision making. This was further complicated by the fact that many of the council buildings and sites are operated under a Private Partnership (PFI/PPP) contract. This meant that third parties added to the number of stakeholders who had to be consulted.

To resolve this, Glasgow City Council met with the numerous stakeholders who had to be engaged, consulted and educated about the project. The phased approach meant that examples existed to demonstrate to later adopters.

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