Before buying new uninterruptible power systems (UPS) hardware, today’s data center operators need to know that the funds they’re investing will result in a quick and significant payback. Return on investment (ROI) won’t come at the expense of lower reliability if a data center operator invests in a highly-efficient UPS.

As the calculations in our last blog showed, a properly equipped high-efficiency mode UPS pays for itself in as little as two years without reducing availability, and also leads to substantial environmental benefits. As a result, organizations eager to cut costs while preserving uptime and supporting sustainability initiatives should carefully consider replacing legacy double-conversion UPS hardware with more modern and efficient devices.

Many early high-efficiency mode UPSs forced companies to accept tradeoffs between energy efficiency and reliability. That tradeoff is no longer necessary with today’s more advanced models, provided they have the following critical capabilities:

Rapid transition time

Any high-efficiency mode UPS should transition between energy-saver mode and double conversion mode in no more than four milliseconds.

High-energy efficiency

The best high-efficiency mode UPSs are more than 99 percent efficient when running in energy-saver mode, and over 98 percent efficient under loads as low as 20 percent.

Robust surge suppression

Some data center managers question the ability of high-efficiency mode UPSs to suppress the kind of extreme power surges produced by lightning strikes. In truth, well-designed high-efficiency mode UPSs feature the same input and output capacitors that double-conversion models use to suppress surges, and are therefore every bit as effective at limiting the impact of voltage spikes.

Efficient electromechanical component utilization

Well-made high-efficiency mode UPSs utilize electromechanical components in a manner that increases their reliability. For example, the best high-efficiency mode UPSs extend the lifespan of their fans by switching them on only during heat-intensive processes such as charging batteries.

Ability to correct load harmonics when in high-efficiency mode

The UPS should be able to utilize its power conversion circuitry to cancel undesirable load harmonics that could appear on the UPS input. This harmonic mitigation prohibits voltage distortion being reflected onto the site electrical system.

Fault discrimination

The high-efficiency mode UPS should support the IT load if a fault occurs. Faults upstream of the UPS require a different reaction than downstream faults. If the UPS cannot discriminate between these, it may drop the load. Therefore, the UPS must detect the location of the fault and react appropriately to protect the IT load under any fault scenario.

Secure remote operation

An advanced UPS should switch between double-conversion mode and high-efficiency mode automatically, even when operators aren’t present.

Remote access capabilities

The most advanced high-efficiency mode UPSs come with remote access capabilities that let operators change modes manually over the Internet. The best remote access features include security functionality that locks out unauthorized users by requiring both an IP address and password.

To learn more about the benefits of high efficiency mode UPSs, register for an exclusive Mission Critical webinar on March 31 hosted by Eaton Product Manager Ed Spears. Click here to register.