Smart grid improves energy usage, helps meet building codes

By offering Smart Grid solutions to your clients, you can help them become more energy efficient.

07/03/2013


The Smart Grid refers to the modernization of the electricity supply system. It monitors, protects, and automatically optimizes the operation of its interconnected elements in order to guarantee the supply of electricity. The Smart Grid features two-way communication—between the facility and the utility company—so that both parties can see how much electricity is used, and when and how much it costs. As part of Smart Grid implementation, commercial and residential consumers of electricity reduce their consumption (shed load) at critical periods, and can often receive financial incentives for doing so. 

Figure 1: The relative visual performance is a percentage expected performance while reading 10-point font under 100 fc. Ten-point font is the lower limit for most printed office material. High contrast is similar to black print on white paper. Low contraAccording to a 2003 Dept. of Energy (DOE) survey, lighting and HVAC together account for two-thirds of the electrical power usage in a typical office building. As a result, lighting and HVAC control strategies, such as participating in demand response (DR) programs, offer the best opportunity to help building clients become more energy efficient. 

This becomes even more important as newly established green codes, standards, and rating systems are moving municipalities toward legislated DR implementation. California’s newly adopted CalGreen, codes including ASHRAE Standard 189.1 and the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), and the U.S. Green Building Council’s imminent LEED 2012 update all have DR components.

How it works

The Smart Grid is an automated electric power system that monitors and controls grid activities, ensuring the two-way flow of electricity and information between power plants and consumers—and all points in between. Up and down the electric power system, the Smart Grid will generate billions of data points from thousands of system devices and hundreds of thousands of consumers. DR programs in many states offer incentives to reduce energy use during these peak hours, and offer lower electricity prices for off-hours use. 

What makes the grid “smart” is the ability to sense, monitor, and in some cases, control (automatically or remotely) how the system operates or behaves under a given set of conditions. In its most basic form, implementation of a smarter grid is adding intelligence to all areas of the electric power system to optimize our use of electricity. 

How do commercial facilities benefit?

The need to better manage the electrical grid is driving Smart Grid implementation, but commercial entities benefit from energy management strategies. They:

  • Receive financial incentives from DR programs and by managing peak demand.
  • Reduce building electrical usage at critical periods to prevent grid instability, blackouts, and critical peak charges.
  • Reduce load at the touch of a button or automatically without having to dispatch the maintenance team to manually turn off loads.
  • Shed electric load without disturbing the occupants of a space. Lighting control strategies, in particular, take advantage of the fact that the human eye is highly adaptable to changes in light levels. A study by the Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has shown that most occupants will not detect a gradual change in light level such as a 15% to 20% decrease in light output. Gradual, slow, and steady changes over a few seconds are offset by the natural capabilities of the eye and will have no impact on productivity (see Figure 1 below).
  • Help stabilize local community energy prices.
  • Take advantage of additional government incentives such as The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct). EPAct’s Energy Efficient Commercial Building Deduction allows building owners to deduct the entire cost of a lighting or building upgrade in the year the equipment is placed into service.
  • Avoid excessive peak charges. As DR becomes more universal, controllable systems for HVAC and lighting become more important. Today the industry is working toward automatic demand response, or ADR. Demand events will directly signal energy managers to curtail power through a facility control system. This trend will become more prevalent as the Smart Grid develops.

Commercial Smart Grid solutions

Commercial Smart Grid solutions, like DR strategies that focus on lighting control, allow a facility to respond to load shed requests automatically, or at the touch of a button. These solutions contain load-shedding software that can easily reduce the lighting load to a pre-programmed level. Lighting is an ideal choice for load shedding because it consumes a substantial amount of electricity and because, unlike other systems, power reductions can be implemented gradually so that they go unnoticed by the occupants in a building. The overarching goal of DR is to keep the electricity supply at a steady and controllable state, while meeting the requirements of the Smart Grid. ASHRAE is, for example, developing two key standards for Smart Grid, including Standard 201: Facility Smart Grid Information Model, and Standard 135: BACnet.

As legislated DR becomes more prevalent in building codes, companies will benefit from installing DR-ready technologies that can be integrated into building management systems (BMS). Intelligent lighting control strategies that manage all the light in the space including electric lighting, HVAC, and even fenestration systems will ultimately enhance a facility's ability to be responsive and to support an active, rather than passive, DR strategy. Intelligent controls that use higher-order logic and analytics will be best able to meet DR goals—keeping the electricity supply at a steady and controllable state—without compromising comfort and productivity.


Brian Dauskurdas, director of global energy solutions, has been with Lutron Electronics for 13 years. He has been intimately involved in the specification, construction, and commissioning of building lighting and shading controls systems installed throughout the world.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.