Daytona International Gets Smart About Panelboards

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It’s home to what’s been called the Great American Race for years but Daytona International Speedway handles more than that one, very big annual event. It’s also the site for a string of car and motorcycle races, concerts and more.

In all this, Daytona International faces some challenges when it comes to keeping people happy and the bottom line healthy, but turning to technology provides a solution.

With 250,000 people attending the Daytona 500 (Great American Race) those paying customers want to be comfortable. They need seating and lighting and want to follow the race, which takes hours to run, even when they get up to eat, stretch their legs, or for anything else.panelboard

For Daytona International, improving the customer experience was a key goal during a $400 million renovation. It added more seating, lighting, and concessions, as well as 1500 television monitors along with other improvements.

Some of those were behind-the-scenes changes. Adding lighting and monitors would mean little without adding a convenient and efficient way to control them. To handle this and the needed overcurrent protection, Daytona International first considered installing tried-and-true relay panels, but an electrical contracting firm working on the project turned to Schneider Electric. They wanted to provide a better solution, one that enabled easy automation and control.

All those television monitors? With the old approach, they’d all be on – unless somebody manually went through and shut them off. Then somebody else would need to go back through and turn them back on as they are a key in making sure you don’t miss anything on the track.

So, a manual approach is not a smart or efficient way to do things.

What’s more, there are energy efficiency mandates and new codes to be aware of. For instance, California’s Title 24 (you can read more about it here) and the latest ASHRAE standards call for plug load control in at least half of receptacles. Intelligently switching individual plugs off and on, or plug load control, can save a quarter of the electricity consumed in office buildings.

That’s good for the planet and the bottom line. Even modern, energy efficient flat screen televisions consume 50+ watts per hour, depending on the screen size and other factors. If that monitor is on but nobody’s looking at it, you waste energy and money. The same is true when you have the lights on but nobody’s around.

While their biggest events may pull in a quarter million people others don’t have nearly the same draw. So the raceway needed control that was finely tuned and intelligent. That way when all the lights and monitors need to be off or on, they would be and all while reducing energy costs. This also enables them to control the lights and monitors in a particular part of the venue, making managing a busy event schedule easy to do. Plus, with Internet connectivity, control, scheduling and more could be done remotely, using a computer, tablet or equivalent.

Daytona International opted to go with PowerlinkTM Intelligent Panelboards from Schneider Electric. They offered the overcurrent protection, automated plug load and lighting controls and energy measurement capabilities needed by the venue, all in a single compact solution. You can read more about it in this case study. Take it from me. It may not be as exciting as a race but it’s worth reading.

For even more information about Powerlink intelligent panelboards please watch the short video below. Otherwise, you can visit our web page or email:

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