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There are two terms that seem to confuse designers. These terms are “diversity factor” and “demand factor.” To better understand the application of these terms when calculating the load for a service or a feeder supplying a facility, one must understand their meaning.

There are two terms that seem to confuse designers. These terms are “diversity factor” and “demand factor.” To better understand the application of these terms when calculating the load for a service or a feeder supplying a facility, one must understand their meaning.

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Demand

Dont Be Confused By These Terms

Publish March 2009

There are two terms that seem to confuse designers. These terms are diversity factor and demand

factor. To better understand the application of these terms when calculating the load for a service or a

feeder supplying a facility, one must understand their meaning.

Diversity factor is the ratio of the sum of the individual maximum demands of the various subdivisions of a

system (or part of a system) to the maximum demand of the whole system (or part of the system) under

consideration. Diversity is usually more than one.

Demand factor is the ratio of the sum of the maximum demand of a system (or part of a system) to the

total connected load on the system (or part of the system) under consideration. Demand factor is always

less than one.

Application of diversity factor

Consider two facilities with the same maximum demand but that occur at different intervals of time. When

supplied by the same feeder, the demand on such is less the sum of the two demands. In electrical

design, this condition is known as diversity.

Diversity factors have been developed for main feeders supplying a number of feeders, and typically, they

are 1.10 to 1.50 for lighting loads and 1.50 to 2.00 for power and lighting loads.

Diversity factor and load factor are closely related. For example, consider that a feeder supplies five users

with the following load conditions: On Monday, user one reaches a maximum demand of 100 amps; on

Tuesday, two reaches 95 amps; on Wednesday, three reaches 85 amps; on Thursday, four reaches 75

amps; on Friday, five reaches 65 amps. The feeders maximum demand is 250 amps.

The diversity factor can be determined as follows:

Diversity factor = Sum of total demands Maximum demand on feeder = 420 250 = 1.68 100 = 168%

Given

Calculate the size of a main feeder from substation switchgear that is supplying five feeders with

connected loads of 400, 350, 300, 250 and 200 kilovolt-amperes (kVA) with demand factors of 95, 90, 85,

80 and 75 percent respectively. Use a diversity factor of 1.5.

Solution

Calculate demand for each feeder:

400 kVA 95% = 380 kVA

350 kVA 90% = 315 kVA

300 kVA 85% = 255 kVA

250 kVA 80% = 200 kVA

200 kVA 75% = 150 kVA

The sum of the individual demands is equal to 1,300 kVA

If the feeder were sized at unity diversity, then 1,300 kVA 1.00 = 1,300 kVA

However, using the diversity factor of 1.5, the kVA = 1,300 kVA 1.5 = 866 kVA for the feeder.

Transformer supplying the main feeder plus wiring methods and equipment can be sized from this

kilovolt-ampere rating.

Applying demand factors

Although feeder conductors should have an ampacity sufficient to carry the load, the ampacity needs not

always be equal to the total of all loads on connected branch-circuits.

A study of the National Electrical Code (NEC) will show that a demand factor may be applied to the total

load. Remember, the demand factor permits a feeder ampacity to be less than 100 percent of all the

branch-circuit loads connected to it.

Keep in mind that demand factor is a percentage by which the total connected load on a service or feeder

is multiplied to determine the greatest probable load it may be called on to carry.

When additional loads are connected to existing facilities having services and feeders as originally

calculated per 220.87, the maximum kilovolt-ampere calculations in determining the load on existing

services and feeders should be used if these conditions are met:

If the maximum data for the demand in kVA, such as demand meter ratings, is available for a minimum

of one year

If 125 percent of the demand ratings for the period of one year added to the new load does not exceed

the rating of the service; where demand factors are used, often the load as calculated will probably be

less than the demand meter indications.

The Ex. to 220.87 contains requirements for where the maximum data for one year is not available. In

such, the calculated load is permitted to be based on the maximum demand (measure of average power

demand over a 15-minute period) continuously recorded over a minimum 30-day period using a recording

ammeter connected to the highest loaded ungrounded (phase) of the feeder or service based on the

initial loading at the start of the recording.

By referencing Parts III and IV in the NEC, designers can find other useful demand factors that are

applicable to specific loads.

STALLCUP is the CEO of Grayboy Inc., which develops and authors publications for the electrical

industry and specializes in classroom training on the NEC and OSHA, as well as other standards. Contact

him at 817.581.2206.

GT 11

Connected load demand factors

Sum of individual loads

Diversity Factor- 1.5

Required load-

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