Prevent hotspots and improve energy efficiency with Division 25

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Fire: It’s the one word guaranteed to strike fear into any building owner or facility manager’s heart. In addition to the enormous safety threat to occupants, electrical fires are the most expensive form of building damage. Unfortunately, more than half of businesses close within five years of a fire.

But what if building stakeholders had the electrical intelligence to predict overloads and hotspots before they occur? What value would your customers place on this smart building capability? What other bottom-line benefits could you offer with this intelligence?

A Division 25-specified building provides the electrical intelligence in an electrical power management system (EPMS) to detect problems before they occur, so that stakeholders can pivot from reactive maintenance to proactive cost-saving measures. In this post, I’ll explain how this smart building capability can enable continuous thermal monitoring to prevent costly fires, and also provide critical data for stakeholders to increase energy efficiency.

Reduce hotspot risks

Thermal surveying is the most common technique used to locate electrical hotspots that can cause fires. Each survey uses infrared (IR) thermography to provide a snapshot of electrical connections and loads.

But this method has limitations. Sometimes, a deteriorating connection occurs between scheduled surveys. There are also safety challenges. For example, these surveys are conducted by technicians manually, which exposes them to arc flash risks.

Continuous thermal monitoring is a safer and more cost-effective option. The process uses thermal sensors that are installed on MV or LV busbar connections, cable connections, breaker contacts, transformer inputs, windings, taps, and outputs. In a smart building, these sensors provide real-time monitoring for abnormal temperature increases and thermal runaways, and the smart building analytics automatically identify trends to predict future occurrences.

This smart building capability produces real-time data, which building maintenance personnel can use to determine if the hotspots are resulting from vibrations, overloading, or outdated equipment. Maintenance teams can also share this cloud-hosted data easily and securely with outside teams for faster collaboration and analysis. This means building stakeholders can enlist the expertise they need to analyze the data to improve energy reliability and reduce costs.

Increase energy efficiency

Electrical monitoring can go beyond continuous thermal monitoring to deliver more smart building value. For example, facility-wide electrical monitoring gives building stakeholders the capability to increase energy efficiency dramatically. It provides the electrical analytics they need to make informed decisions about energy distribution, costs, and labor.

The EPMS can communicate with other building management systems for increased upstream and downstream efficiencies if the building is Division 25 specified. Division 25 provides the framework for an intelligent building management system (iBMS) that allows the different divisions to communicate with each other for automated monitoring, including HVAC, lighting, fire prevention, card access, CCTV, metering software, network, CISCO, IT/OT, and more.

For example, when motorized relays connect via the iBMS, the meters can automatically turn each breaker on or off, based on how much power they are using and building occupancy. The EPMS can also utilize IoT sensors to assemble, analyze, and convert the energy data into information, which they can use to make intelligent business decisions to improve energy optimization.

This smart building capability gives stakeholders a birds-eye view of how the building is utilizing energy, including:

  • If plug loads are too high to meet ASHRAE standards
  • The amount of electricity the HVAC is using
  • When to cut back power to avoid a brownout
  • Facility-wide EPMS information for assessing overall energy efficiency

Want to learn more about how a Division 25 specification can provide more electrical intelligence for your customers? Take the first step to delivering more building value to your stakeholders by downloading our new e-book, Improving Building Design With Division 25 Specifications.