Mar
09

As Building Infrastructures Age, Up-to-date Assessments Can Ensure High Performance and Resilience

Changes to a building that occur over time can often make building performance less efficient and less resilient. As time goes on, building use characteristics often diverge from those that were used initially to design and commission a building. A good example of this is improper outside air ventilation rates which can lead to problems with indoor air quality (IAQ), or excess operational costs. Building power and cooling infrastructure components can also wear out and fall out of calibration. As more and more powered equipment gets added, power capacities are exceeded, and unanticipated downtime issues begin to emerge.

As systems age, they decline in performance, which leads to failures that significantly impact the bottom line. A perfect example is a research facility that examines proteins and crystals in their research of bacteria and virus-borne diseases. The facility recently decided to upgrade its installed base of microscopes in response to pharmaceutical customer demand for more accuracy. Their existing building power infrastructure supported a 1-megawatt (MW) power switch, which was previously adequate as the building consumed 600 kW of power on an average day, and nosed up to 800 KW on the hottest of summer days when air conditioning systems work at full capacity.

Given the required upgrade, a cost effective, steady power supply with peaks in excess of 1MW was now required in order to accommodate stringent purity requirements and to avoid losing both data and research samples.

Our solution was to implement a lithium-ion-based energy storage solution physically located inside of the building. The battery selected for this purpose supplies stored power to the facility when demand spikes over 1MW and then recharges from the grid. This cost-effective change to the lab's existing power infrastructure successfully managed the building's increased power capacity requirements and helped the research lab remain competitive in their market.
Approaches for validating current building requirements

For organizations seeking to ensure consistent building power, cooling, and building automation performance, here are some preliminary steps that should be taken to validate requirements:

Identify common needs of both traditional and new critical infrastructure – Building owners need to periodically assess the health of different types of building critical infrastructure. This includes both generators and power distribution systems and the IT backbone – anything that keeps the building on its mission at a predictable operating cost. These infrastructure pillars need to be assessed in order to determine whether changes to the building have altered the efficiencies.
Identify needs unique to your facility – Understanding the unique requirements of the building under management also heavily impacts how technology is deployed to improve performance. Sports arenas, for instance, have a specialized need for higher dehumidification. High precision temperature control and monitoring are needed to both accommodate tens of thousands of fans and to assure that ice rink temperatures, for example, are properly maintained.

Healthcare facilities require more highly regulated environments. Circulating air has to be regularly monitored. Sophisticated backup power systems are required since connected hospitals have no real ability to shut down. In government and municipal buildings–such as prisons and K-12 public schools–a higher focus on safety and security emerges as a primary concern. Commercial buildings are focused more on comfort and lighting so that employee productivity can be maintained. Knowing the unique characteristics of your building and applying the right building automation technologies suited to those unique needs is a key performance driver.
Changing times demand more building resilience

Regardless of the type of facility, building owners also need to be aware that building resilience is emerging as a growing need. For many years, predictable building performance was taken for granted by the occupants. But now, the existing power grid has grown older. As power sources such as coal and nuclear phase out in the US, new solar and wind power are being introduced. These changes make power quality more intermittent and downtime can now occur in areas where power fluctuations were once rare. In addition, pockets of businesses continue to expand across regions driving more demand for clean, "always on" power. In these cases, building infrastructures need to be reexamined in order to withstand the demands of the "new normal."


To learn more about how digitized building automation solutions can improve building performance, visit the Schneider Electric EcoStruxure for Buildings web site.​

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://blog.se.com/building-management/2019/11/12/building-infrastructures-age-assessments-high-performance-resilience/

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Mar
02

Eaton's Current Thinking Broadcast Series, Episode 4: Keeping up with the Code

Watch experts from the electrical industry and Eaton offer their take on changes to the 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC). Get a better understanding of how the Code is updated, recent changes and what to expect as the 2023 code takes shape.

Understand how code updates are made

Learn about the biggest factors that go into updating the Code during each review cycle, who participates in code-making panels and how updates are determined and approved. We'll also debunk some of the myths and misconceptions about how code updates are made. Hint, they're not just driven by manufacturers.

Implement updates to the 2020 NEC

We'll discuss some of the biggest modifications to the Code and go behind the scenes to understand the process that drove the changes. A wide variety of updates will be discussed: from GFCI expansion to load calculations for LED lighting to service entrance changes. We'll look at some of the drivers behind these changes and where industry can turn to get more information.

Prepare for the 2023 code

A conversation around the additions we can expect to see that weren't included in the latest update and how businesses can prepare for upcoming changes while also helping encourage adoption of the changes in their own states.

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Feb
20

Eaton's Surge Protection FAQ

P3 offers a comprehensive range of surge protective devices (SPDs) designed to meet the needs of virtually any environment or application manufactured by Eaton. Before determining the optimal device for your facility, it is helpful to gain a general understanding of the importance of surge protection and the key factors to consider. Learn more from the link below:

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

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Feb
17

Has Smart Grid Technology Impacted Utility Fatality Rates or Job Numbers?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently reported there were 5250 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2018, representing a 2% increase from the 5147 in 2017. Although there is no acceptable number of fatalities, the 44 deaths in 2018 in the North America Industry Classification System (NAICS) utilities sector were well below numerous other sectors. For all job classifications, homicides, roadway incidents, falls, and being struck by an object each resulted in more deaths than exposure to electricity. Is the lower fatality incident rate for utilities (2.6/100,000) compared with the construction industry (9.5/100,000) — which includes trade electricians — because of the implementation of digital and other smart grid technologies? Also, does the developing smart grid era portend fewer or more electric utility jobs?

BLS data historically identified being an electrician as one of the 10 most dangerous jobs. The data issued to date for 2018 provides a more nuanced story. Fatalities in the utilities sector, including all types of utility workers, were relatively low. Fatalities in the construction and extraction occupational sectors (see graphic) were high and within the 10 most dangerous classifications. The construction sector (NAISCS 23) includes specialty trade contractors (NAISICS 238), which covers electricians. While sector breakdowns do not include the number of fatalities by occupation, a straight percentage allocation of the total would indicate 160 electricians working as construction subcontractors lost their lives in 2018. To be clear, this is an estimate for comparison with the 44 utility employee deaths.

There are a host of job differences when comparing utility workers with electricians working as subcontractors, frequently on construction sites. One thought-provoking concept is that smart grid systems at utilities are affecting fatality rates by reducing or eliminating some of the most hazardous tasks. Consider advanced distribution management systems that can clear some grid faults and avoid having line workers make unnecessary trips during inclement weather. Also, look at the reduced exposure to energized cables resulting from the digitalization of substations and other grid components. The smart grid initiative also includes an increased emphasis on renewable energy and measures such as demand management. Such technologies may limit the transmission and distribution (T&D) of power, but they also place electrical systems in work settings where staff may not be adequately trained. However, there is no compelling evidence in literature to date indicating that smart grid technologies are impacting the incidence rate of workplace fatalities, even though some of the arguments both ways are logical.

Most electric utility employees don't spend their time worrying about the singularity — a hypophysis concerning when technological advancement will overtake and potentially eliminate humankind. However, some may worry about technological advancements eliminating their jobs. It's clear from our experience to date that some roles are becoming less essential while others will be created or a will have a higher priority. Consider the reduced need for meter readers with the adoption of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) or the decline in customer service operators with automated response systems. Conversely, look at the increased and new roles in information services, analytics, and communications technology.

BLS data indicate utility worker jobs have declined by only 2.3% in the 10 years since the beginning of 2009. This is the same period during which we've seen huge investment in smart grid infrastructure by the electric industry. However, reviewing the data timeline below, one might argue the worker decline is more a vestige of the great recession which began in 2008 than a result of the adoption of smart grid technology.


Source: BLS — Employment in the Utilities Sector

A detailed assessment released nine years ago by the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and West Monroe Partners predicted more than 100 job classifications in a range of businesses and industry subsectors would be affected by the expansion of smart grid technology. The study identified gaps between existing skills and competency levels relative to those needed for the transformation of the power industry. Further, it stated that the smart grid would bring new job duties, titles, and roles to the power industry, but stopped short of finding a major workforce expansion. In fact, the study reported that workforce growth could be hampered by learning curve pains and significant age-related worker attrition occurring in the industry. Time appears to have confirmed these predictions.

The fate of utility job numbers vis-a-vis the smart grid now squarely rests with utilities themselves. It's fair to say we are past the learning curve pains and training shortages reported in the IIT study. Further, one industry assessment after another predicts high growth for the foreseeable future in smart grid technologies and their applications. The only question is will utilities seize on the new opportunities presented by this transformation and hire the employees needed to pursue them, or allow third-party businesses to fill the void?

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Feb
10

T & D Linemen Photo Contest Winners

This year's 2020 Lineman Life photo gallery celebrates the linemen who put in long hours in severe weather conditions to keep the lights on. Linemen from across North America submitted images of linemen in action for the photo competition. 

Sean Daly / National Grid

 1. Restoring Power

This photo of National Grid linemen working a storm in New York captured first place in the 2020 Lineman Life phot
Ben Williams / National Grid

2. Getting the Job Done:
Voters loved the dramatic silhouette in this photo from Ben Williams of National Grid. "No matter how complicated, a lineman will always get it done," he says.

James Christopher VanHook / Davis H. Elliot Company, Inc.

3. Back-to-Back Storms:
While an overhead lineman restores power after a bad storm, another storm came through with heavy rain, thunder and lightning.

Angel Maxwell

4. Climbing Poles:
This photo of Cody Maxwell and Dustin Taylor climbing power poles came in fourth place in the 2020 Lineman Life photo competition.

Chad Agee / PAR Electric

5. Replacing a Pole:
Linemen perform a hot 138 KV pole replacement for PAR Electric.

Joe Jones

6. Installing New Infrastructure:
Linemen lay up wire on a new build job.

Dustin Garrett / Potelco

7. Scenic Backdrop:
A Potelco employee anticipates the delivery of fiber on a job in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho.

Jennifer Herrmann

8. Competing in the Rodeo:
Lineman Jonathan Herrmann competes in the Florida Lineman's Rodeo.

Ben Williams / National Grid

9. Cloudy Day:
Ben Williams, a journeyman lineman for National Grid in Avon, New York, says no filter was used on this photo of line work in action.

Karl Ryan / National Grid

10. Night Job:
Karl Ryan, who works for the distribution department for National Grid out of Andover, Massachusetts, took this photo on a planned night job in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://www.tdworld.com/electric-utility-operations/media-gallery/21122466/linemen-crown-the-photo-contest-champs

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