Intelligent energy management starts with the application of logic. Those responsible for a building's energy consumption rightly realise that wastage needs to be prevented. However, what is less obvious is monitoring utilities is not just about measuring kilowatt-hours. In actual fact, reducing utility bills can be a minor part of the commercial advantage of intelligent monitoring, because a greater proportion of the potential for savings is, like an iceberg, out of view
The integration of energy management and energy efficiency has shifted to an even higher priority as energy price hikes reach epic inflationary proportions. Energy, always an overhead, is now eroding profits and adding to costs at alarming levels.
While focus tends to be on passive energy measures - such as installing energy saving luminaries and other energy efficient equipment - the real key to achieving maximum and sustainable savings is by adopting active energy consumption countermeasures.
To use a simple analogy, fitting energy saving lamps and tubes merely mitigates for the otherwise higher wastage when the lamps are left switched on in unoccupied areas. Fitting room occupancy sensors can therefore be regarded as active control that thereby maximises the savings of the entire lighting system.
In the broader arena of energy efficiency in buildings the task of identifying where energy is used, when and how much is used is critical to targeting the areas that are capable of being controlled. As one obvious example, if the draw on power is identified in an unmanned office area at night, the likelihood is that lighting has been left on, or even that equipment is powered in standby modes.
Logic is power
PowerLogic ION technology from Schneider Electric offers an integrated solution to monitoring and measuring power consumption with a rapid return on investment. Professionals from finance departments to building services engineers and premises and facilities managers use key performance indicators (KPIs), analysis and control tools to cut energy and maintenance costs without compromising the comfort, safety or productivity of occupants.
By installing a network of advanced PowerLogic meters throughout power distribution, building and backup systems, users can continuously track all their utilities and monitor equipment conditions. On the premise than one cannot manage what they cannot measure, enterprise-level software helps identify and sustain energy savings, accurately allocate or segment costs, optimise multi-site utility contracts and maximise reliability.
PowerLogic addresses a range of important power and energy management applications. Users can measure efficiency, reveal opportunities and verify savings. In multiple occupancy buildings tenants can be sub-billed for energy costs, while in single occupancy commercial situations energy costs can be allocated to departments or processes. Judicious management can reduce peak demand surcharges and even help reduce power factor penalties (reactive energy charges).
Effective metering has further benefits such as strengthening rate negotiation with energy suppliers; identifying billing discrepancies; and validating that power quality complies with the energy contract. From a facility management point of view metering can help maximise existing infrastructure capacity; support proactive maintenance; verify the reliable operation of equipment; and improve response to power quality-related problems.
Schneider Electric offers a range of easy to install products, which already incorporate the PowerLogic metering solution. These products are backed by professional surveys that include energy efficiency audits, asset optimisation studies and maintenance services - all delivered by Schneider Electric Services and Projects. Schneider Electric provides ease of use and choice by the installer, and has a standardised equipment offer with the Powerlogic PM750 meter. This has a dual output, pulsed and Modbus so it can be installed and communicate with most Building Management Systems (BMS) without modification.
Powerlogic metering can enable compliance with Part L2 of the Building Regulations and can be used in all kinds of switchboards, distribution panels, motor control centres and multi-metering measurement centres.
Over a building's lifetime, millions of pounds may be invested in equipment and the energy that runs it. Determining where excess equipment capacity exists, where it is being overstressed and where to balance loads on substations, MCCBs and other power equipment, is tricky and often left to guess work. Where validation is expected, this is clearly not enough. Energy efficiencies must be compared between departments and capacity in systems identified. Technology can accurately do this better than humans. By effectively monitoring electrical and piped utilities, equipment life can be increased and trend information can be utilised for further cost saving advantages.
Breaking the mould on monitoring
In the application of MCCBs, Schneider Electric has recently pioneered a fresh approach by incorporating not just incredible levels of electrical safety, through its protection and isolation functionality but also energy efficiency metering and monitoring.
The launch of the Compact NSX MCCB embodies features that provide all of these critical functions.
With options for monitoring and communication functions, the new range of MCCBs is ready for current and future needs. Setting a new standard in its class; protection functions are enhanced and for the first time both energy consumption and power can be monitored at the device.
The originality lies in how the devices measure, process and display data, either directly on the LCD screen, on the switchboard front panel or via a monitoring system. It is compatible with PowerLogic monitoring software that provides users with parameter sets and tools for comprehensive monitoring.
Electronic Protection modules incorporate three LEDs to give an immediate and clear visual indication of operational status.
Far more than a circuit breaker, Compact NSX lets operators better manage electrical installations and meet customer needs by optimising energy consumption, increasing supply availability and improving electrical installation management.
Compact NSX incorporates many new features that make it more flexible and suitable for an extended range of applications. The roto-active contact breaking principle, for example, provides better current limitation and endurance performance providing very high breaking capacity in a very small space.
Well suited to motor-starting and motor-running applications, the Compact NSX provides protection against short circuits, phase imbalance and loss with additional protection systems for starting and breaking with the motor running, jogging and reversing.
Metering at board level
It is not just devices such as the NSX MCCB that has been integrated with power metering. Compliance with certain aspects of the Building Regulations Part L2 has required the engineering and installation of meters to gather energy usage data. Schneider Electric developed a simple and elegant solution to the problem by offering its Isobar 4c 3 phase split metering lighting and power B type distribution boards with inbuilt meters and communications options.
The Building Regulations Part L2 a and b demand sufficient facilities to account for 90% of each fuel type by end use category. Since as long ago as 2006 it has also been required to have automatic meter reading and data collection facilities for all new buildings over 1000m2.
The Isobar 4c gives metering of total load plus separate metering of section 2. All control wiring current transformers and protection for meters are included and fitted, with outputs wired to terminals. For remote data collection and communications, an ethernet gateway and DC power supply can be supplied for retro-fit. The Power quality meters themselves are the state of the art PM750MG models with both pulsed output and modbus communications.
Isobar 4c distribution boards can also be supplied with extension enclosures for fitting of surge protection and remote switching if required for fitting on site to extend the functions of the distribution boards.
For split metering units the Isobar 4c 125 or 250amp boards come with a unique new split busbar (for which a patent is applied for) for lighting and power - in three combinations of 12/8, 14/6, 16/4 4/6,6/8 also - but a single overall isolation device. Standard incomers can be used together with split earth bars for ease of wiring.
Like all Isobar 4c boards, there is an individual unique outgoing MCB connection slider; units are designed manufactured and tested to BS EN 60439 1 & 3; ingress protection is to IP3X to BS EN 60529; voltage rating is 400/415V; and the cable capacity of neutral and earth bars is 25mm2.
Saving energy is laudable, but to maximise cost reduction an intelligent and convergent approach to power management enables prolonged equipment life, increased uptime, minimised outages and greater all-round efficiency.
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