InTents August/September 2019 - 48

business | tips and techniques

How to plan for
temporary power
Accurately calculate temporary power for tented events
with a basic understanding of how power behaves.

s tented events become more
complex, they are more likely
than ever to require temporary power,
because venues often don't have enough
utility power to handle the needs of
lighting, HVAC (air conditioning and
heat), catering and cooking equipment,
and stage and sound.
Just as there are many types of tents,
there are also many options for portable
generators, from the very small, such
as Honda 1000-watt units, to the very
large, such as semi-trailer generators.
For the event industry, power can
be summed up to basically two types:
regular power (120/208 volt, like
what is in a home) and high voltage
(277/480 volt, for powering HVAC and
some lighting). Sometimes both types
can run on one generator with the help
of a transformer to adjust the voltage up
or down as needed.

A
Tripping hazard
Avoid creating a tripping hazard
with power cables by asking
these questions:
* Will the cables cross
walkways?
* Can the cables be run under
the floor or mats?
* If cable covers are placed
over the runs of cable,
will the covers be a
tripping hazard?
* Can the serving staff walk
safely and roll carts over
the cables?
* Have all vendors (caterer,
HVAC, restrooms, lighting,
sound and security) been
involved in the planning
and logistics for power
distribution?

48 intents

august-september 2019

How much? How many? Where?
Calculating how much power a tented
event needs is usually one of the later
planning steps because it requires a list
of every piece of equipment that will
draw power. How much will the stage
take? What type of lighting is in the
tent? What does the caterer need? What
else will require power?
Once you have calculated the total
power needed, turn your attention to
location and number of generators.
Here are some questions to consider:

* Can one generator handle the power
requirements, or will you need
multiple generators?
* Does the event equipment all run
on the same voltage? Or will an
additional generator be needed for
different equipment?
* If the generators are placed close
to the tent, will noise be a problem
for guests?
* If the generators are placed at a
distance, can you run the cable
distribution to the tent and still
power the equipment properly?
Electricity and water don't mix, but
their behavior is similar: The longer
a garden hose, the less water that
comes out. The longer the cable run,
the less voltage that comes out. Long
cables may affect the performance
of some of equipment.
* For fuel consumption, how long
does each piece of equipment need
to run? It may be better to have a
smaller generator for items that
need power 24/7, such as lights
and refrigeration, and have a larger
generator available for equipment
needed during the event only.
In addition, make sure that the generators are placed in a location where
they can be easily accessed for fueling
and emergency repairs. Do not block
them in any way.
Once you have your list of power
needs and have selected the appropriate



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