Schneider Electric Drives Energy Initiatives
By Natalia Kosk
The message resounded loud and clear at Schneider Electric's Editor's Event last month in Chicago: Make the most of your energy and manage it efficiently. "The energy issues are the same everywhere and the law of physics tells us that we are all in this together. And the challenges we face require changes in behavior," echoed Aaron Davis, chief marketing officer for Schneider Electric, Rueil Malmaison, France. Evidence of energy conservation and innovation can be seen all over the world, with powermats that wirelessly charge mobile phones; renewable energy generated from natural resources like the sun, wind or rain used to power other electronic devices; and available electric or hybrid vehicles. And while it seems that more and more players-most recently Google, Amazon and Verizon-have put their fingers into the energy 'cookie jar,' it will take a unique approach to answer questions and provide results that cut down the global carbon footprint.
"Companies like Google and Amazon-they don't have the device they need to be able to control" or offer energy management services, said Davis, adding that home automation is still a niche market.
"Most money will be spent on endorsing efficiencies and that will be where most of the carbon is offset," Davis continued. "The problem is that this is not sexy yet."
Bringing sexy back to sustainability platforms
And while more companies and businesses are thinking about their carbon footprint, too often than not, energy has not been input into the equation for a manufacturer, explained Jeff Drees, president, Schneider Electric, Palatine, Ill.
"Energy efficiency doesn't happen unless you have technology, and technology doesn't happen unless you have great sustainability and great people," said Drees.
He cited a number of key trends that will impact the business including:
- Urban migration
- The uncertainty of economic recovery
- Capital expenditure spending
- Energy supply challenges to meet demands
- Regulatory activity and,
- OpEx economy
Schneider Electric's recent acquisition of Telvent enables them to expand their current solutions for energy management in smart grids, within oil, gas and water infrastructure, for smart cities and transportation and across agriculture and global services businesses.
"From a one-way energy grid to a two-way energy grid to a data smart grid-that's what we want to talk about today," said Drees. "How each business we build contributes to the story about smart grids."
Davis noted "new standards coming to the grid to all of the utilities all over the world about cyber security will dramatically change the processes of the grid."
One of the ways the company is ensuring utility revenue metering is with its Square D Powerlogic ION8650 meter, which contains twice the accuracy of the ANSI C12.20 Class 0.2 and IEC 62053-22 Class 0.2S standards, with a single Class 2/10/20 current range.
Impact on retrofit construction and system management
"Opportunities for energy efficiency present technologies in different ways for different sites such as commercial buildings versus residential," explained Don Rickey, senior vice president, Energy Business, Schneider Electric.
The residential security sector is one area that experienced an uptick in home automation intrusion panels that enable homeowners to control lighting, HVAC and other settings from their mobile device and even remotely view interactions in their home.
But while Davis confirmed that consumers or businesses on a smaller scale are not ready to entirely manage their own energy, enterprise level sites and Fortune 500 companies are in fact already looking for ways to manage this data. "The proliferation of smart technology is what has helped energy management expand in the way it has for the past 20 years," he added.
"Architects and engineers realize that if we are to get to net zero* some day, we can't keep building structures the way we have been," explained Melissa O'Mara, solution vice president, Green Buildings, Schneider Electric. "And the construction industry is realizing this."