This is the second post in The Impact of Power Management on Building Performance and Energy Costs series.
In a recent post, I discussed the idea of adding power management capabilities to your building management toolbox and the various benefits it can bring even to buildings with non-critical power needs, including lower electricity costs, improved equipment performance and help with equipment maintenance. In this post, we’ll walk through the components that make up a power management system and some deployment options.
The systems consist of meters for monitoring power consumption and quality as well as software for pinpointing issues and viewing, reporting and analyzing power usage. Implementing these features may be easier than you think and well worth the effort.
Meters – the foundation of the power management system
To manage power, you need to measure power, and for that you need meters. Power management systems typically use two types of meters, the first being power consumption meters. As the name implies, they measure the quantity of power flowing through any part of an electric system. They can correlate energy use to equipment performance and identify consumption trends as well as anomalies that could signify problems.
Power quality meters, on the other hand, measure anomalies that affect the quality of power flowing through a building. Common power disturbances such as voltage dips, harmonics and transients can all have negative impacts on electrical systems and equipment, including power outages, damaging devices and equipment, and degraded performance. (Read more about the different types of meters and how to choose those best for your facility’s needs in our free Power Meter Selection Guide for Large Buildings.)
Power management software
Power management systems can operate either as stand-alone entities or they can be embedded in an existing building management system (BMS). Stand-alone applications will provide centralized visibility of power use. Capabilities may include dashboards for real-time visibility of energy use, alerts for out-of-norm conditions, reports for compliance and management reviews, comparisons across facilities, and analytics for deeper insights.
Integrating power management in a BMS provides additional benefits, including convenience and efficiency. This is a preferred option for buildings with non-critical power needs, such as commercial office buildings, and educational and retail buildings. It makes power information more accessible to facilities personnel who may not have extensive experience with electrical systems.
Power management deployment options
In terms of how it’s deployed, a power management system can be rolled out all at once or phased in over time, which makes it more affordable. Either way, first you’ll want to identify the core areas to be measured and review any power management capabilities that are already in place. Otherwise, placement of monitoring may depend on the biggest areas of concern. If it’s energy bills, you’ll monitor the incomer meter, for example.
In the next post, I’ll describe how an integrated power and BMS system can help both electrical and mechanical systems run better. In the meantime, to learn more about how to implement a power management system and the benefits it can bring, download the free Schneider Electric white paper, “The Impact of Power Management on Building Performance and Energy Costs.”
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