Selecting an electrical distribution voltage for a multi-tenant commercial building is often based on prior lease agreements, previous projects, incomplete information, or intuition. Our research provides guidelines with economic justifications.
Each type of service has its advantages. 208V requires less electrical equipment in the Tenant lease space and is therefore less expensive for the Tenant. 480V is lower in cost for the Landlord. It allows the use of smaller conductors from the utility transformer over greater distances as well as smaller Landlord distribution equipment―requiring less space for indoor electric rooms and offering more flexible truck dock loading space and Tenant door locations.
A careful evaluation of the building’s characteristics, including the size of the building, Tenant requirements, and anticipated loads, can help resolve any guesswork that was previously present in the service voltage determination. An example of this analysis follows: