UPS Efficiency

How UPS Efficiency Affects Your Data Center

In today’s world, being continuously connected to the internet is the norm. From bingeing an entire season of shows overnight to managing big data in cloud computing, all forms of internet activity require an extraordinary amount of storage space to store user’s data. The primary role of a data center is to house an organization’s most critical and proprietary assets that is users data and information. Because of this, they are vital to the continued success of an organisation.

To continue performing its mission-critical task, data centers needs to have optimum reliability and efficiency. As the size, energy costs and green legislation demands for data centers increase, so does the pressure to improve efficiency in data centers. 

But how does UPS Efficiency impacts a data center’s performance? Let’s find out.

How is Data Center Efficiency Measured?

The effectiveness of a data center is usually measured using a metric named Power Usage Effectiveness, or PUE.  PUE is defined as the ratio between the total amount of power entering a data center and the amount usefully consumed by the data-processing load within it. As the efficiency of a data center continues to improve, its PUE will drop.

An ideal and perfectly-efficient data center should have a PUE of one. However, according to the Uptime Institute’s Data Center Industry Survey 2014, the typical data center has an average self-reported PUE of 1.7, which means for every 1.7W taken from the utility, only 1W is used directly for IT activity.

The ‘useful’ power is consumed by data processing hardware including servers, storage, and telecommunications equipment. Meanwhile, the ‘overhead’ or wasted energy is due to chillers and other cooling equipment, switchgear, and UPSs. As cooling equipment has become more efficient, attention has turned to UPS systems as they offer the major remaining PUE improvement opportunity

An Efficient UPS = Better PUE

UPS design has improved tremendously within the past twenty years. Today, most of the modern UPS installations utilise transformerless UPS topology, which offers several significant advantages over the previously-used transformer-based approach. As a result, efficiency has massively improved in recent years and the most advanced UPS suppliers are now able to offer efficiency levels of up to 96%. In certain circumstances, even higher levels are achievable, albeit with some compromises.

What’s more, this high level of efficiency is closely maintained for a wide spectrum of loading, even down to 25% or less. This means energy efficiency does not suffer, even if your UPS is not being used as frequently. Further energy efficiency savings arise as the UPS’s increased efficiency reduces waste heat output and therefore demand on cooling systems.

Another significant benefit of modern UPS technology is the ability to configure your UPS system as a scalable set of ‘hot-swappable’ modules, rather than a single, monolithic installation. The modular approach enables load capacity to be increased throughout the life of the system, in line with business requirements.

The modern modular system may also improve energy efficiency by presenting an input power factor much closer to unity and far less load-dependent. This reduces the magnitude of the input currents, therefore reducing the size of the power cabling and switchgear.


As we have discussed today, improving UPS efficiency may lead to better data center PUE performance. UPS operators who invest in the right, transformerless technology UPS systems, can therefore enjoy the benefit of lower PUE in their data centers.

Protect your business from downtime due to power interruptions by scheduling a routine UPS inspection. Here at Northern Lights Data, we can provide you with a customised solution to meet your power management needs. With routine UPS prevention checks and maintenance, our team of UPS expert master electricians will inspect and monitor all systems, ensuring that your business is equipped to handle all challenges. Mitigate your downtime and losses, get in touch with New Zealand’s leading power management consultant today. 

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