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South Shore Generator Sales & Service Blog - Wareham, MA

Generator Set Sizing and Specification

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, August 27, 2019
South Shore Generators - Generac Industrial Generators

This blog is designed to educate consulting specifying engineers regarding the various factors that influence the sizing and selection of a generator set, and how familiarity with these factors can contribute to more economical and reliable facility designs.

Question: If I have only 30% load on a generator, what could be done to allow the genset to run for a period of time?

A: A load bank could be added to the installation to add additional load to a diesel generator set so the engine reaches the recommended operating temperature or minimum load recommended by the manufacturer.

Q: I need to size a generator for a small free-standing emergency department building (11,000 sq ft). The diesel generator needs to serve the CT scan machine, the MRI scan machine, and the general X-ray machine. Does the software permit this modeling?

A: These loads could be entered as MISC loads but the starting/running kVA/kW, voltage dip requirements, and harmonic details would need to be known for accuracy.

Q: Is there a standard range for voltage dip?

A: Yes, 15% to 30% is a common voltage dip requirement, which will be defined as the requirement of the loads but the requirement can be higher than 30% or lower than 15%.

Q: Per which NEMA code did you quote regarding 80°C?


Q: Where can I find descriptions on the generator end numbers shown in PSSPEC?

A: By contacting your local MTU Onsite Energy dealer or by referencing Marathon Electric’s website for the examples from this presentation.

Q: Please explain why the fire pump running (facility on fire?), yet other loads, such as air conditioning units are allowed to start?

A: This ultimately comes down to how the system is designed and if there are controls in place to shed the air conditioner if the fire pump is running or called to start.

Q: How do you specify generators across different manufacturers (equivalents)? Often, kW from manufacturer A isn’t the same size of manufacturer B.

A: If the kW from different manufacturers isn’t the same, a sizing exercise from each manufacturer can be performed to determine the size of genset selected or a spec can be written with the loads defined and the party bidding the job is required to provide a sizing report. For example, some manufacturers provide 2,800 kW generator sets as opposed to 2,750 kW generator sets so both options could be listed in the spec or the bidder is required to confirm compliance via a sizing report.

Q: Is the genset sizing tool free?

A: Yes.

Q: I understand that this presentation refers to MTU generators, but is the software applicable/usable to other brands?

A: Yes, but it is recommended to produce a sizing report for the project loads to confirm compliance of other brands.

Q: What is the difference between an “emergency” generator and a “standby” generator?

A: International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 8528-1-2005: Reciprocating internal combustion engine driven alternating current generating sets—Part 1: Application, ratings and performance defines emergency standby-, prime-, and continuous-rated generator sets. NFPA 70-2017: National Electrical Code (NEC) references emergency and standby systems.

Q: Does the temperature rise rating of the alternator affect the generator’s ability to handle harmonics?

A: It can. For example, a 176°F (80°C) alternator will have more copper and iron in it because it is “oversized” when compared to a 266°F (130°C) alternator and the 176°F (80°C) alternator can handle harmonics better. Ultimately, a sizing exercise will need to be performed with the loads to determine the size/temperature rise of the alternator required.

Q: What resource do you recommend to become more informed on the technical aspects of generator set temperature rise?

A: NEMA MG-1 and also reach out to your local MTU Onsite Energy dealer.

Q: Does the MTU sizing software display harmonic distortion values, and does this vary the recommended sizes?

A: The sizing software can account for total harmonic current distortion of an entered load and size the generator set accordingly.

Q: Does a UPS-type load require a greater generator capacity than a similar motor load with the same kVA requirement? In in the past, the rule of thumb was 1.5 times the UPS load to assign a generator capacity.

A: Due to differences in UPS technology, we do not recommend using the 1.5 times the UPS load rule of thumb to assign a generator capacity. We recommend to enter the actual UPS load with rectification type, recharge rate, etc., and complete a sizing report.

Q: I usually put HVAC units in step 2, because most have an automatic time delay, if running. Is this OK?

A: If the time delay will allow for the generator set to recover to stable voltage/frequency and the HVAC unit will start in step 2 not 3, 4, 5, etc., then yes.

Q: Is it possible to select genset size as per total running kW, max starting kW, and cumulative step load rather than going with size being suggested by generator sizing tool?

A: We recommend using a generator set sizing tool to address power factor/kVA, nonlinear loads, and harmonics in addition to your values listed.

Q: Is it cost effective to add variable frequency drives (VFDs) to reduce generator sizes?

A: This would be an engineering economics exercise where the cost of the VFD must be compared to the savings in generator set size.

For more information, contact South Shore Generator in Wareham, MA.

The Importance of Life Safety Code Compliance

Joseph Coupal - Monday, August 26, 2019
South Shore Generators - Back Up Power for Data Centers

Life safety codes exist to ensure health care institutions are able to provide the highest quality of care.

Ask any Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) code-compliance firm and they will tell you the importance of life safety code compliance cannot be stressed enough. The proof is in the number of citations they bestow: Life safety citations have been among the top cited issues for the past several years, with the two most common citations relating to sprinkler system maintenance and electrical wiring and equipment.

More often than not, the high rate of these deficiencies is directly linked to a misunderstanding of NFPA 101: Life Safety Code—a code that was updated in July 2016 when CMS released its final rule. This update adopts the NFPA’s 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code as well as provisions of the NFPA’s 2012 edition of NFPA 99: Health Care Facilities Code. Although the update is filled with extremely important information, it can be a little daunting to sift through.

When it comes to life safety, regular code updates are necessary due to continual advancements in technology and safety protocols, as well as new scenarios that present themselves as health care delivery changes. Implementing the latest and greatest life safety measures is straightforward and standard in new construction, but things get a little more complicated in older facilities.

Hospitals are built for permanence, meaning they’re built to stick around for a long time without significant depreciation; they typically have a lifespan of 100 years. Over the course of their lifespan, many of these older hospitals go through renovations, but they’re often phased and can span decades. The sporadic nature of these renovations can result in buildings that adhere to various versions of the NFPA Life Safety Code and lack consistent documentation or life safety drawings.

In the Northeast, a 100-year-old health care institution recently faced this problem with facilities ranging from the 1890s through the early 1970s.

During an unannounced CMS validation survey, inspectors encountered a number of violations, not the least of which was not having updated life safety drawings and documentation. The subsequent CMS inspection report contained a number of condition-level deficiencies, which could lead to a terminated Medicare contract if not fixed within 90 days.

Life safety inspections aren’t doom and gloom. Life safety codes exist to ensure health care institutions are able to provide the highest quality of care, which is a very good thing for patients and institutions. The key to looking at inspections in a positive light is understanding the codes and having the certainty that your facilities are compliant.

For more information, contact South Shore Generator in Wareham, MA.


Joseph Coupal - Monday, August 19, 2019
South Shore Generators - Wareham, Boston, MA

A business continuity plan is essential for all companies. When your business’ ability to operate is compromised, it can cost you money. Lost revenues plus extra expenses can seriously deplete profits. And while your insurance may cover your losses, it won’t replace customers who are now doing business with your competition.

Preparing for an Outage

  • Create a communication plan. 
    • List employees and their phone numbers/email addresses
    • Establish a preferred method of communication (call / text / email)
    • Include emergency contact numbers - List key stakeholders
    • Who contacts whom
    • Include any necessary external contacts (suppliers, contractors, consultants, etc.)
  • Consider your critical business functions and create a plan for backing up these functions in the event of an outage.
  •  Identify all necessary less and records that are needed to continue operation. These files/records should be:
    •  Copied and backed up frequently
    • Securely stored with retrieval and recovery procedures in place
    • Reviewed and updated periodically for validity
  •  Prepare an Outage/Disaster Supplies Kit that is easily accessible.
  • Consolidate all aspects of your plan into a single document that is readily available.
  • Make this plan available to all employees who may be present at the time of an outage and review it on a periodic basis.
  • Practice your Business Continuity Plan in a controlled setting on a recurring basis (once/year).
  • Make any necessary modi cations to your plan after you practice it. As things change throughout the year, you may also need to make tweaks. It is important to make sure your plan is always up to date.

What To Do During an Outage

  1. Verify everyone in the facility is safe and can find an exit
  2. Check utility breakers for any potential trips and reset if necessary
  3. Contact the utility company about the outage and obtain an estimated duration
  4. Contact any necessary external contacts (if extended outage is expected)
  5. Refer to your backup plans in the “Critical Business Functions” section for additional steps depending on the duration of the outage.

Things to Consider

  • Can your business operate remotely if you have a secondary location identified in the event that your current location is inoperable?
  • Can employees telecommute while still keeping the business operational?
  • Will additional people be needed to keep the business operational? If so, who are these people and how are they contacted?
  • At what point does it make sense to send employees home vs. keeping them on location if the power is out?

Keep in mind:

  • Time of day that the power goes out. Is it nearly the end of the work day anyway, or did the work day just begin?
  • Estimated duration of outage. Does it make sense to keep employees at the facility if the outage is only going to last 1 - 2 hours? What about 4 - 6 hours? - Tasks to accomplish. Are there productive activities/tasks that employees can accomplish on-site during an outage, or will everyone simply be waiting for the power to return?
  • Cost differences. What does it cost to pay your employees to be on-site if your business is not operational due to the outage? What does it cost to shut your business down for the day with the potential for power to come back on?
  • Staying operational. Can you still operate your business with employees on-site? Or can you operate remotely through either an alternative site or employees working from home?

Critical Business Functions

  • Identify all functions, processes, equipment, etc. that are crucial for business continuity
    • Record the tolerable period of time each function,process, equipment can be down (without power) before affecting business operation
    • Create a backup

For more information, contact South Shore Generator in Wareham, MA.

Have a Diesel Generator In Place To Backup Your Business

Joseph Coupal - Monday, August 12, 2019
South Shore Generators - Wareham, Boston, MA

Is your business storm-ready, with an emergency backup diesel generator in place and ready in case of a natural disaster? Now is a good time to assess your business’s needs mid hurricane season and before winter storm season begins.

Businesses, governments and private citizens alike ought to make sure they are prepared for and can respond to any emergency. Diesel generators provide essential power during hurricanes and other weather-related natural disasters. These units achieve full load-carrying capacity within 10 seconds of grid power outage – which means any mission-critical services experience minimal or no loss of power. Ensuring this type of resilient backup power is in place also helps minimize losses from any storm-related event.

Business losses from power interruptions vary by sector, but are costly across the board:

According to a 2017 survey by ITIC, 98% of enterprises with more than 1,000 employees say a single hour of downtime for mission-critical IT servers and networks can cost over $100,000; 81% of organizations report that this cost exceeds $300,000; and 33% indicate a hour of downtime costs an excess of $1 million.

According to a 2016 survey of 63 data centers by the Ponemon Institute, an unplanned data center outage of about 95 minutes costs more than $740,000, on average.

A 2013 U.S. government report found that weather-related outages between 2003 and 2012 cost the U.S. economy an annual average of $18 billion to $33 billion.

Choosing the right diesel generator for your business is a critical first step to successful event recovery. Diesel generators come in various mobile sizes and configurations and come with their own standalone fuel supply – important when other sources of power are disabled by utilities in an emergency situation. Many of these diesel generators are built to withstand temperatures below 0°F and built to withstand winds up to 180 miles per hour.

Most Americans are unaware of the important role diesel technology plays in ensuring vital routine and emergency services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and especially in the aftermath of a storm. Hospitals, police stations, power plants, banks, cell phone transmission towers, schools – plus those systems even more essential to public health after a storm: public drinking water and wastewater treatment systems, and flood protection pump stations – most of these pieces of critical infrastructure typically rely on stand-by diesel generators for emergency power.

Today, advanced technology diesel engines and equipment are being integrated into the newest distributed and sustainable energy systems such as renewable- and battery-driven microgrids. These new-generation systems give operators the renewable wind or solar that they want, with the reliability that they need coming from standby diesel generators.

For more information on commercial diesel generators, contact South Shore Generator in Wareham, MA.


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