Evolv­ing Power Man­age­ment For In­tel­li­gent Build­ings

With­out a doubt, man­ag­ing en­ergy costs while driv­ing sus­tain­abil­ity and ef­fi­ciency is one of the big­gest power man­age­ment chal­lenges that fa­cil­ity pro­fes­sion­als face to­day

Dataquest - - CONTENTS - (The au­thor is Pres­i­dent, Build­ing Busi­ness, Sch­nei­der Elec­tric)

The ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy are mak­ing build­ing power man­age­ment and elec­tri­cal main­te­nance more ef­fi­cient, there are new ob­sta­cles that come along with th­ese im­prove­ments. For ex­am­ple, one of the big­gest trends im­pact­ing power man­age­ment in a fa­cil­ity is the growth of com­plex elec­tri­cal net­works that in­clude dis­trib­uted gen­er­a­tion like so­lar, bat­tery stor­age and backup gen­er­a­tion, and volt­age dis­tur­bances from har­monic emit­ting sources like vari­able fre­quency drives and LED light­ing. In the past, ev­ery build­ing was more or less de­signed in the same way from an elec­tri­cal per­spec­tive with the main source of power com­ing di­rectly from the elec­tri­cal util­ity. Now, we have much more com­plex build­ings that have dif­fer­ent needs in terms of where they con­sume en­ergy and also how they man­age the dif­fer­ent sources from where that en­ergy is be­ing dis­trib­uted. This adds a layer of com­plex­ity for fa­cil­ity man­agers, be­cause now they are not just a con­sumer of en­ergy, but also a pro­ducer of en­ergy, and have to man­age those two dif­fer­ent sources in par­al­lel.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the face of the fa­cil­ity man­ager is chang­ing. Tra­di­tion­ally, a fa­cil­ity man­ager was some­one who was an en­gi­neer and in many cases had been sta­tioned in the same build­ing for years. Now, we are see­ing a shift in that pro­file as older work­ers re­tire and a new gen­er­a­tion of fa­cil­ity man­agers emerge who may not know the ins and outs of a par­tic­u­lar fa­cil­ity, but bring unique back­grounds and skill sets.

It’s also im­por­tant to con­sider that a grow­ing num­ber of fa­cil­i­ties are view­ing elec­tric­ity as a crit­i­cal re­source. Hos­pi­tals, for ex­am­ple, have al­ways con­sid­ered elec­tric­ity as mis­sion crit­i­cal as the loss of power be­comes a life

safety is­sue, but now even fa­cil­i­ties like shop­ping malls are view­ing it with the same mag­ni­tude. If the build­ing loses power and stores have to close, that out­age can drive cus­tomers to com­peti­tor stores and sig­nif­i­cantly im­pact the bot­tom line.

Fa­cil­ity man­agers are con­tin­u­ously be­ing chal­lenged with how to ad­dress th­ese forces of change and run their build­ings more ef­fi­ciently. To do this, they are in­creas­ingly re­ly­ing on sys­tem in­te­gra­tors and sup­port teams to help op­ti­mize elec­tri­cal equip­ment and en­ergy per­for­mance, im­prove elec­tri­cal sys­tem re­li­a­bil­ity and man­age en­ergy costs. This means that sys­tems in­te­gra­tors now need to be fully up to speed and knowl­edge­able on the lat­est elec­tri­cal and en­ergy sys­tem tech­nol­ogy to de­liver the best ser­vice for their clients. This can be a chal­lenge for in­te­gra­tors who have spent years learn­ing one set of prod­ucts and tech­nolo­gies, and now need to quickly change di­rec­tion.

To en­sure they are up for the task, sys­tem in­te­gra­tors should fo­cus on the fol­low­ing key tac­tics:

Train­ing. Con­duct reg­u­lar, spe­cial­ized train­ing on the most crit­i­cal chal­lenges fac­ing build­ing own­ers and fa­cil­ity man­agers and the so­lu­tions that can solve them. This will help sys­tem in­te­gra­tors broaden their ex­per­tise to of­fer their clients a greater range of prod­ucts and so­lu­tions and help them stand out from the com­pe­ti­tion. Net­work­ing. Seek out an open net­work of fel­low sys­tem in­te­gra­tors that pro­motes idea shar­ing and best prac­tices im­ple­men­ta­tion. With a built-in net­work of part­ners to work with, sys­tem in­te­gra­tors can more eas­ily take on col­lab­o­ra­tive projects that might other­wise be be­yond their reach and open up new op­por­tu­ni­ties for growth.

Tech­nol­ogy. Gain ac­cess to the in­dus­try-lead­ing tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions that will drive the fu­ture of in­tel­li­gent build­ings – and the highly skilled peo­ple needed to de­sign, in­stall and sup­port those so­lu­tions.

Th­ese days, fa­cil­ity man­agers need a full range of tech­nolo­gies and an army of ex­perts to op­ti­mize op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency and man­age­ment of en­ergy and elec­tri­cal sys­tems. No­body can go it alone any­more. By part­ner­ing with a sys­tem in­te­gra­tor that’s con­stantly ex­pand­ing their ex­per­tise and has the right part­ner­ship ecosys­tem in place, it will make the chal­lenge at hand much eas­ier for fa­cil­ity man­agers to tackle.

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