(left to right) Aaron Davis, Jeff Drees and Marty Hanna of Schneider Electric discuss energy efficiency and sustainability at the North American Editor's Event in Chicago.
Kent Evans, director of Marketing, Summit Energy, Louisville, Ky., demonstrates the dashboarDView platform which provides energy consumption data and reports greenhouse gas/carbon emissions.
Photo credit: Photos: Natalia Kosk
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."
Tracking the data is one way in which buildings now have the opportunity to become energy producers as well. With Schneider's dashboarDView, dealers and integrators implementing security components into a retrofit or new building can track the specific energy usage of a security camera or device that a user may have on site, utilizing a sensor attached to each device.
In addition, the company's StruxureWare Operations 7.0 Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) platform bundles sustainability, energy, operations and asset management together to enable an integrated view of a data center's physical systems.
"Technology is changing and with that, the types of systems that dealers and integrators may have put in years ago need to change," explained Dave Jardine, president and chairman, Telvent North America, Fort Collins, Colo. "Dealers and integrators have the responsibility of understanding the bigger picture and need to make the public aware of what can be done" in implementing energy efficient systems, he said. "At the residential level, one concern that people are going to have is where their information is going to end up. Security is a big component of that."
* Net Zero: Generating as much energy over the course of a year as what is being consumed.
Solutions Savvy Manufacturer
Digimerge Technologies, Baltimore, re-launched its Website at www.digimerge.com with a renewed focus on the professional security integration market. The developer and manufacturer of DVRs and cameras is focusing on bringing targeted solutions to its professional installation network.
"From an equipment standpoint, we've changed our business model to be more solutions-based," said Wayne Hurd, executive vice president, Digimerge Technologies. "We have lines of digital video recorders, from entry to enterprise level. Our Central Management Software (CMS) manages the DVRs and the IP cameras and we integrate analog with IP. We believe we have one of the best mobile applications as well, all backed by best-in-class technical support," he said.
Hurd said professional installers should not be pigeon-holed into an application by the DVR they select, and with that in mind have designed their products to fit a range of specifications. "The installers are never pigeon-holed," Hurd continued. "They can do residential to mid-level to enterprise solutions," he added.
Digimerge provides consistency in products so installers don't have to relearn programming parameters from solution to solution, commented Joel Kligman, vice president of Marketing and Corporate Development. "Our touch series DVRs all operate from the same CMS," he said. "Once an installer learns any one of the products they know automatically how to set it up. And that saves them time and money in the field," Kligman said.
Are boxes dead?
While some in the industry point to the continued demise of the DVR, Hurd and Kligman disagree. "In essence, DVRs are an IP device; if they are networked they are IP devices," said Kligman. "Yes, there is a trend to move to IP, but the business is still about 70 percent analog and there are still a great number of integrators and dealers using DVRs and that will continue for the next four to five years."
One of the biggest challenges, according to Hurd, is the economic times. "The integrator has to become creative to provide the right product at the right price to provide the best solution. We are offering that value proposition," he said.