This is the first post in the The Impact of Power Management on Building Performance and Energy Costs series.
Power management systems are often used in facilities such as hospitals and data centers, where power use and availability are critical. But nearly half the world’s buildings are non-critical, including schools, retailers and office buildings. By not employing a power management system, owners and managers of these facilities are missing out on an opportunity to reduce energy costs and improve the overall performance of their buildings.
Most buildings have a building management system (BMS) that enables them to monitor and control heating, cooling and ventilation systems in order to keep employees comfortable. But a power management system goes a step further, by monitoring the electrical system that supports them. That’s a need because from 30 to 40% of all unscheduled HVAC downtime is related to power quality problems. Such problems have significant consequences, as research by the World Green Building Council shows employee productivity increases by 11% from better ventilation and by 23% from better lighting, while performance suffers when temperatures are too warm or too cool.
It stands to reason, then, that adding power management to a BMS will improve the performance of these systems – and of employees. What’s more, effective power management can reduce energy costs.
Now it may be that facility managers are simply not used to dealing with electrical equipment, or that building owners think power management systems are too expensive and complicated to install and use. But that perspective on the need is changing as described in this blog, Non-critical Buildings … Critical Information.
Such systems are focused on managing electrical distribution systems in order to maximize the efficiency and reliability of a facility’s electrical infrastructure. They utilize electrical power metering devices to measure the quality and quantity of power flowing through the electrical system. Power management provides real-time visibility into the properties of a building’s electrical supply and helps identify which building systems or pieces of equipment are contributing the most to electrical energy waste.
Still unsure if power management is needed in your non-critical building? Consider these questions:
- Do you know where power is being used in your building?
- Does the power use indicate equipment problems or maintenance needs?
- Is your utility company’s billing accurate?
- Is there a problem with power quality in the building?
- How do similar buildings compare in their power consumption and what do the variations signify?
Now consider how much time, energy and money could be saved by having such valuable information!
In my next post, I’ll describe power management system components and deployment options. In the meantime, to learn more about how power management systems can help buildings run more effectively and efficiently, download the free Schneider Electric white paper, “The Impact of Power Management on Building Performance and Energy Costs.”