Office Buildings And Backup Power Generators

Office Buildings And Backup Power Generators

You won’t hear them kick in if they’ve been installed properly, but generators can be found in many office buildings across South Africa. Some offices simply cannot afford to have the power go down at all, while others choose to have backup power for their occupants’ convenience. Either way, with Eskom yet to announce a much-anticipated finishing-off of load shedding, every office building could do with backup power generators in place.

READ: Choosing the right generator for your building

Why backup power for the office?

Ensuring an office building remains connected to electricity means it can remain connected to everything else it needs to operate. With backup power, an office can remain open to the public, keep the lights, power network infrastructure, power computers and other devices, and – most importantly – ensuring the kettle can boil water for coffee! Seriously though, so many issues arise in offices when the power goes out, so an office setting is definitely one of the most important places to have a backup generator.

Questions to ask about office generators

Before setting your mind on the brand, type, or capacity of generator you’d prefer, here are a few questions to ask about your office space:

  1. Will the generator remain stationary or need to be portable?
  2. How many appliances, devices and lights need to be run?
  3. What available space is there to install the generator?
  4. Which type of fuel should the generator consume? (diesel, gas, petrol)

READ: 7 factors that influence a generator’s price

3 types of generators for offices

Commercial generators are predominantly used as standby, nice-to-haves in office settings. Some industries, however, are required by law to have backup power generation on call at all times.

  1. Emergency Standby Generators

Emergency standby generator systems automatically kick in when the office experiences power loss due to a power outage. These office generators are required by NFPA code and must provide power to all the building’s safety systems within 10 seconds. These include exit lighting, smoke alarms, fire alarm systems, escalators, elevators, and anything that is absolutely necessary for people inside the building to remain safe or get to safety during life-threatening scenarios. Emergency standby generators must be completely separate and have their own electrical panels, switches, and conduits.

  1. Legally-Required Generators

These backup generator systems are similar to emergency generator systems, except that they have up to 60 seconds to automatically provide power. Legally-required generators are installed in spaces where backup power is required by law. However, they don’t need to be completely separate systems (like emergency generators). The difference with these systems is that they are not critically needed for office building occupant safety.

  1. Additional Standby Generators

This is any additional standby generator added to an office building is not required by code. These standby generators can be used to provide power to key equipment and systems that the business may find necessary to continue regular operations when the power cuts. Essentially, these generators can help mitigate profit losses and losses due to downtime. These generators can also help keep air conditioning systems running to provide continued comfort.

Installing & maintaining office generators

Get efficient office generator installations, generator maintenance, and repairs to office generators from S&A Generators. Based in Durban, we can travel anywhere in South Africa to assist our clients with their backup power challenges. Contact us to start a discussion about a backup generator for your office building – we look forward to being your light in the dark

7 Factors That Impact A Generator’s Price

7 Factors That Impact A Generator’s Price

  1. Cost of raw materials used in its manufacture
  2. Operating costs of the manufacturer
  3. Fluctuating expenses along the supply chain
  4. Total power output of the generator
  5. Fuel being used to power the generator
  6. Additional soundproofing requirements
  7. Cost of installing the new generator

Buying a backup generator means taking control of your energy needs. It’s about not being beholden to Eskom, or impacted negatively by their electricity generation capabilities. Generators come in varying sizes, depending on a building’s energy requirements. Power output, among other things, impacts how much you pay for your new generator. Let’s take a look at all seven factors that impact a generator’s price:

  • Cost of raw materials
    Every generator comprises smaller components, which are made up of smaller parts themselves, which are made from raw materials likely mined from the earth. The costs of these raw materials, parts, and components all impact how much you end up paying for your generator.

  • Manufacturer energy costs
    Rapid fluctuations in oil and gas prices globally are impacting energy costs of manufacturers. Unfortunately, generator manufacturers have no choice but to pass this cost down the supply chain, which starts a chain reaction and eventually leads to a higher retail price tag.

  • Supply chain expenses
    Extra costs in the logistics required to get new generators to South Africa will ultimately impact a generator’s price. Ships, trucks, and last-leg delivery vans all run on diesel or petrol, the rising prices of which can and will impact the price of a new generator on the shelf.
  • Generator power output
    As we mentioned, the power output of your new generator will affect its price. This will depend entirely on how much work it’ll do while powering your building. Smaller spaces with fewer lights and almost no appliances could get away with a small portable generator. Larger spaces, like malls, will require larger, permanent generators.

  • Type of fuel being used
    The mechanics of the backup power generator you choose will also determine the price bracket you’re looking at. Diesel generators are much more sought-after and affordable than, say, gas generators. More niche, modern designs are inevitably going to require more of an investment.
  • Soundproofing requirements
    How much sound-proofing will your new generator require? If you live in a residential suburb or estate, you might need to take steps to dampen the sound when using the generator. You’ll have to factor these sound-proofing measures in when working out the true cost of your generator.

  • Installation costs
    Another thing to consider when deciding to buy a new generator is what it’s going to cost to have it installed. They don’t just plug in and you’re good to go. You’ll need assistance from generator professionals who can issue a certificate of compliance, after rigging your generator to the building’s electrical infrastructure.

Experienced generator installations in KZN

Get your new backup generator installed by the preferred generator specialists in KwaZulu-Natal. We issue certificates of compliance (COC) on all new generator installations. Contact S&A Generators to discuss sourcing your new generator and having it installed by the best!

Keep reading:

Will load shedding still be an issue through 2022?

You’ve bought a new generator – now what?

What affects a backup generator’s fuel consumption?

Get to know S&A Generators:

See our latest projects:

9 Reasons Shopping Malls Need Backup Power Generators

9 Reasons Shopping Malls Need Backup Power Generators

Shopping malls have become the places we go to do just about everything these days. We can pay our bills, buy our groceries, restock our wardrobes, fix our electronic devices, and much more. The shopping centre ecosystem relies on consumers buying from the tenants, who then pay rent and the mall keeps its doors open. These tenants have requirements to operate, the most important being electricity.

PROJECT: Shopping mall generator install in the Free State

This vital resource powers point of sale computers, bank card machines, internet connectivity, in-store lights, security systems, and air conditioning. Without electricity, retailers cannot trade. So, the overarching reason shopping malls need backup power generators is to provide tenants with a reliable source of electricity.

With unplanned power outages and load shedding still impacting retail outlets across South Africa, having a backup power generator means business continuity; come what may. We’re diving deeper into the need for a generator at every mall below, with nine reasons why having one is an excellent idea:

  1. Retailers trade through power cuts
    When there’s no generator in place, most shopping centre tenants are forced to discontinue operations for the duration of a power outage. Backup power means a continuation of trade for all tenants, regardless of what’s happening with the national power grid.
  2. Shopping mall remains open to the public
    Lighting, elevators, access control, and other mall infrastructure go down when the power cuts off. This means it becomes impossible for shoppers to navigate the centre, unless there’s a backup power generator keeping this infrastructure working and the mall open to the public.
  3. Security measures remain in place
    Iron-clad security is a must at any shopping mall, for the protection of the shoppers, retailers and their staff, and mall management. A backup power generator keeps things like CCTV and alarm systems operational while the national electricity supply is down.
  4. Mall remains connected at all times
    Keeping a shopping mall and its retailers connected to the internet is critical for a number of reasons. Keeping ATMs and credit card machines online to facilitate retail transactions is arguably the most important. With backup power, there doesn’t have to be a loss of internet connectivity at all.
  5. Customer contact is maintained
    Whether a mall has to shut its doors during a power outage or not, being able to communicate with customers is pretty important. Backup power means a mall can communicate to customers that they are open and operational during outages.
  6. Keep the shopping environment comfortable
    Air conditioning is such a relief for shoppers when visiting their favourite malls. When the power goes out, these aircons can’t keep cooling stores and common areas down. With backup power generation in place, shopping malls can keep offering a comfortable environment for both shoppers and shop staff.
  7. Acquire a competitive advantage
    Let’s face it: having a backup power generator is a competitive advantage for any shopping centre. If it’s a choice between shopping at their favourite mall without power, or a competitor mall with backup generators, chances are a customer is going to go with option two.
  8. Avoid a complete loss of productivity
    When the power goes off at a mall without backup generators, productivity comes to a halt across the board. Mall management can’t do their jobs, retailers and staff can’t do their jobs, and this break in productivity renders the rest of the day essentially a write-off.
  9. Attract more potential tenants
    Shopping malls that can keep their doors open and their aircons running stand to attract tenants who are looking for more stable commercial rental options. Having a backup power source is a big plus for any mall looking to improve their tenant acquisition and retention.

Shopping mall generator installs, repairs & maintenance

With decades of backup power generator experience, S&A Generators is your best bet when needing generator repairs, maintenance, or new generator installations (with CoC). A backup generator brings peace of mind for shopping mall managers, that tenants can trade through periods of power outages. Don’t let the lights going out leave you in the dark! Get in touch on 031-702-8621 or [email protected]. You can also send an enquiry on our contact S&A Generators page.

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How Does a Diesel Generator Work?

How Does a Diesel Generator Work?

A Diesel Generator will produce power by burning diesel fuel, a diesel generator uses a combination of a diesel engine and an electric alternator. This generator converts a portion of chemical energy within the diesel fuel, resulting in a combustion that turns into mechanical energy. These generators are affordable and the recommended choice for residential properties and smaller commercial buildings. If you’re looking for a way to get backup power in the event of blackouts, loadshedding, outages and other power issues, this type of generator can be highly useful. Although solar generators are more eco-friendly at a glance, there are ways that you can make your diesel generator more sustainable. You can choose a modified generator, such as a bio-diesel generator or speak to a generator specialist such as S&A Generators to choose the best option for your needs. So, how does a diesel generator work? You’re about to find out:

Diesel Generator Parts & Process

What should you know if you are considering a diesel generator for your home? For starters, it helps to have an idea of the generator parts and how they work to power your home. Here are some of the most important parts of a generator.

The engine runs on diesel. Similar to very large vehicles such as trucks, the larger the energy source, the more power the engine will produce.

This part converts a mechanical engine into electrical power, using induction. Large magnets are placed around a rotating shaft, windings produce a magnetic field that causes the alternator to turn. Alternators also contain a stator – several coiled bundles of wire packed around the rotor. When the alternator moves the shaft, the rotor moves the magnetic fields across these wires, resulting in an alternating current (AC) power.

Fuel system
The fuel supply includes a tank that holds enough diesel for around 8 to 12hours of power. It can be housed inside or on top of smaller and portable generators or in separate structures for larger units. The fuel also includes pipes that deliver fuel to the engine, a fuel pump, a filter and a valve to prevent overpressure. It also has a return line to redirect the leftover diesel back into the diesel tank to avoid wastage.

Cooling system
Diesel generator engines create a lot of waste heat. This needs to be cooled using coolant fluid. The cooling system helps to avoid overheating by releasing heat into the air or a secondary coolant.

Exhaust system
Exhaust gases are produced by all engines. As these gases are toxic, they need to be redirected away from the engine and channelled safely into the air outside.

Lubrication system
The engine is lubricated with the help of an oil pump, oil filter and a reservoir. These are attached to the generator engine.

These parts allow the diesel generator to start running. A small electric starter motor, usually powered by a battery(12v-24v), is charged by the generator output or a separate charger.

The generator’s battery is kept constantly charged by an on board smart battery charger. This battery charger is constantly charging the battery at between 13.6v to 27.3v. When the generator is running the DC alternator will take over the charging of the batteries.

Now that you have a better idea of the parts making up this type of generator, the next step is to get the generator installed. S&A Generators offers a range of services designed to help you get your generator set up and running, along with maintenance and other solutions. Contact us today to find out more about investing in a diesel generator for your building.

Will using a generator damage my electrical equipment?

Will using a generator damage my electrical equipment?

It’s something many home owners and business owners are investing in, but with so many on the market – which one is best for your specific building? There is always concern around whether or not a generator is installed correctly, and what the collateral household damage could be if it’s not. A question we get quite often at S&A Generators is, “will using a generator damage my electrical equipment?” To answer this question, we need to know about the two different types of generators on the market – and what you can do as a generator owner to prevent the damage of your home’s electrical gadgets and appliances.

Two types of generators

When it comes to commercially-sold generators, there are two types that are widely used across the world. These are inverter generators and non-inverter generators:

  • Inverter Generators:

These are common on ‘best portable generators’ lists, and are a bit more complicated mechanically than their non-inverting cousins. Inverter generators feature batteries, alternators, and inverters. These take an unstable AC current, convert it to DC, and then back to stable AC. Because of this, the power output from inverter generators is considered more suited to running things like home appliances and electrical equipment.

  • Non-Inverter Generators

These generators are more ‘old school’. They run on fossil fuels, as do many inverter generators, but there is no battery or power inversion process taking place. In other words, the current being created by the non-inverting generator is susceptible to fluctuation, which is not good news for the electrical appliances being powered by it.

Which one damages electrical equipment?

As you’ve likely figured out, non-inverting generators have the best chance of causing harm to electrical appliances and equipment. This is not to say that every generator of this kind will cause issues, but the safest bet is to invest in an inverter generator. Not only for the sake of your appliances, but also because the on-board battery is handy to have should your inverting generator run out of fuel.

Can you prevent electrical damage?

The answer to this question will always be YES. If you are still saving up for an inverter generator to replace your old non-inverting one, you can help keep your power output stable by ensuring that your generator is in good operating condition at all times. The best way to do this is with planned generator maintenance, where your generator is serviced every 3 months to keep it in peak condition all year long.

Looking for generator professionals in Durban?

Installing a residential or commercial generator makes sense in the age of load shedding, but not all generators are suited to every application. Likewise, not all generator service providers have over five decades of experience. We do, and we’re ready to assist you with any and all of your generator needs. Get in touch to discuss your generator!

5 Benefits of a Diesel Generator for Any Business

5 Benefits of a Diesel Generator for Any Business

It’s difficult to keep track of all the things that can disrupt a business. Sudden mandatory shutdown, as seen recently across the planet, has now been added to the list. However, nothing can come close to the disastrous affect Eskom’s load shedding has had (and continues to have) on SA businesses of all shapes and sizes. This article unpacks why backup generators are so important in this new normal South Africa, by looking at five benefits of having one to keep shop doors open when sudden power cuts arise:

Remain connected when the lights go out

In this digital age, where so many aspects of our lives and businesses happen on electronic devices, having a solution to keep the plugs working makes sense. Computers, card machines, wifi routers and network switches all need electricity to function, and with a backup diesel generator in place – they’ll have all the juice they need when it goes dark.

Keep customers and staff comfortable

What do customers do when the power goes off while they’re shopping? They usually put things back on the shelves and leave. With backup power available, trading can continue unhindered. Also important to a favourable retail experience (for both shoppers and sales staff) is air conditioning, which can keep everything cool while waiting for load shedding to end during the warmer months.

Food and other fresh products stay fresh

Where no backup power really becomes a problem is in the case of fresh food grocers. These shops that sell perishable foods rely on industrial fridges and carefully-controlled room temperatures to keep their produce fresh. With a diesel generator connected to the mains, shops like this can keep their stock in the optimal conditions while the power is out.

Diesel is normally cheaper than petrol

You might not remember this, but diesel is usually cheaper than petrol in South Africa. Well, until 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Once things normalise, and we can put the devastating effects of the corona virus behind us, we expect diesel prices to normalise too. This means that running a diesel generator is going to become a cheaper alternative to petrol-powered backup generators.

Avoid the inconvenience of sudden outages

The last benefit of a business backup generator, but certainly not the least important, is the fact that generators equal peace of mind. Think about all of the business operations affected by a single flick of a power switch. With the simple installation of a backup power source, these concerns can be avoided completely – as long as you remember to keep the generator’s fuel tank topped up!

Backup generator installations & services in KwaZulu-Natal

There’s no doubt that a backup generator benefits any business, regardless of size or nature. Diesel generators can be setup to kick in as soon as the power goes off, which means there doesn’t have to be disruptions to trading and other business operations. Contact S&A Generators to arrange a site inspection and backup generator quote, or if your existing generator needs some TLC!