Building Management

How modernization can give new life – and improved energy efficiency – to older buildings

There’s some truth to the old line that “they don’t build things like they used to,” at least in terms of durability. Think of the Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, or even many early factories built during the industrial revolution that all still stand today. But modern buildings have many advantages over old ones, including energy efficiency, the ability to gather valuable data on operations, and the overall comfort of their occupants. This is why modernizing older facilities – including hospitals, hotels, and office towers – can give you the best of both worlds: solid structures with the latest technology that combine to give you a competitive advantage. At Schneider Electric, we’re here to help you achieve your modernization goals.

A sound investment

Modernizing an aging facility provides many benefits, including reducing your corporate carbon footprint, increasing resiliency in the face of climate instability, and the ability to collect, analyze, and proactively act upon key energy consumption data.

The cloud-based EcoStruxure Microgrid Advisor (EMA) platform helps Schneider Electric customers manage all aspects of their operations remotely. The turn-key EMA system provides continuous energy monitoring of system performance, forecasts energy production and consumption for facilities with onsite microgrids and green energy solutions, and manages consumption during peak periods.

EMA also captures and stores valuable data to help managers improve the energy efficiency of their system. Together, this helps operators optimize when to produce, store, and consume energy.

Power generation from wind and solar is dependent on weather conditions. EMA includes a detailed weather service on the dashboard that gives real-time and projected levels of cloud cover, probability of precipitation, wind speed and direction, and more. Using a smart switch operators can toggle between the public utility grid and the microgrid as needed.

Other features include a power ratio that displays the percentage breakdown of energy consumption from the grid, onsite renewables, and generators. The real-time reporting tool provides data that can be exported in graphs or Excel.

The end result is future technology for today that allows for decentralized, environmentally friendly, smart energy generation.

Microgrids solutions

Across North America, much of our key electrical grid infrastructure – including transformers, transmission lines, and circuit breakers – is outdated and at risk of failure. In one recent survey, 98 percent of companies reported that one hour of grid downtime equates to more than $100,000 in lost productivity. This is why many companies from diverse industries are turning to onsite microgrid solutions.

Microgrids offer an onsite power supply incorporating renewable energy systems to drive smart buildings. Microgrids are typically connected to the hydro grid but can operate in “island mode” if the grid goes down, or run completely off the grid. A typical setup might consist of a diesel backup generator, solar panels, wind turbines, and lithium-ion batteries for energy storage, and interconnected industrial, commercial, residential, and public service loads.

Microgrids represent a shift from a producer-to-consumer relationship to a “prosumer” model where companies produce and consume their own energy, providing them direct financial and sustainability benefits, while also benefitting society as a whole by expanding our collective network of green energy options (learn more about Schneider Electric EcoStruxure™ Microgrid Solution).

Schneider Electric has built more microgrids in the United States than any other company and, in partnership with the Carlyle Group, offers AlphaStruxure energy-as-a-service (EaaS) financing, making it possible for companies to finance, build, and maintain a microgrid without any upfront capital costs.


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