Monitoring Power Quality is Vital

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As per the International Energy Association, 42% of world’s energy is used up by buildings. An increasing number of modern buildings are equipped with automated Building Management Systems (BMS). Such systems enable monitoring the power quality as much as power quantity. Facility managers mostly use these systems to monitor the mechanical systems that consume energy. Many of them do not actually leverage the potential of BMS to monitor the electrical system in place.

According to the “European Power Quality Survey Report” published by Leanardo Energy, power problems are responsible for half of equipment downtime in most buildings.

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Power monitoring uses electrical power metering devices to measure the quality and quantity of power flowing through the electrical system. It helps identify which building equipment are contributing the most to electrical energy waste.

Power meters can be of two general types: power consumption meters and power quality meters.

  • Power consumption meters measure the quantity of energy flowing through a system. They correlate energy use to equipment performance, and identify energy consumption trends. They also identify anomalies in energy use that could signify developing problems, and verifying energy bills.
  • Power quality meters monitor the quality of the power, not just the quantity. There is a variety of power quality anomalies such as voltage dips, harmonics, and transients that all can have negative impacts on electrical systems and equipment.

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Power management linked to BMS helps both electrical and mechanical systems to run together better and provide a single, unified view of building operations. When power management is integrated into a BMS, it enables managers to determine if the root cause of an equipment problem is mechanical or electrical in nature. So the point is, quantity clearly cannot be at the expense of quality.

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