Our Blog

Power Outages & Electrical Coordination Studies

Dear Client,

Have you ever heard of an Electrical Coordination Study? We have noticed that many people are not aware of all of the different ways a building can lose electrical power. I hope that you will find this article informative and will consider commissioning a study for your facility.

Sincerely,
Mark Fratto, P.E., LEED AP

 

Circuit breakers and fuses are designed to disconnect electrical power from wiring or equipment that has failed. This prevents dangerous conditions including fire and electrocution from occurring. 

Ideally, only the circuit breaker serving the failed device should be activated. This way the power is only turned off to that device. However, in some cases a larger circuit breaker may sense the problem and turn off power to large areas of the building that do not have light or power and building occupants are at risk. 

In a hospital, the emergency generator may turn on and supply emergency power to these areas. However, we have observed some failures that prevent power to these areas even with the generator running.

To determine if larger circuit breakers or fuses are at risk of tripping in response to smaller problems, an electrical coordination study should be performed. We highly recommend that you have a coordination study done to prevent large scale power outages in your facility.

For more information regarding this issue, please contact us at (817) 461-2337.

How Can You Save Utility Costs in Your Facility?

Dear Client,

As utility costs become a greater portion of facility operation costs, it is in our best interest to operate our facilities as efficiently as possible. In fact, it is not uncommon for heating and air conditioning costs to account for more than 50% of the total energy bill. The following energy saving ideas were presented at the 2012 ASHE conference in San Antonio. I hope that you will find them thought provoking and will consider commissioning a review of your facility.

Sincerely,
Mark Fratto, P.E., LEED AP

 

Using high pressure steam for your heating system can be 50% efficient where as heating water systems can have an efficiency as high as 95%. If most of your steam is used for heating, consider converting to hot water.

Outside air requires significant energy to condition. While it is a code requirement in many cases, controlling the amount of outside air can result in large savings. Consider controlling the outside air dampers with your energy management system rather than have them in a fixed position. Where code permits, evaluate implementing non occupied control modes where the outside air is reduced or eliminated after hours. However, make sure you coordinate properly with the exhaust systems so you do not create a negative condition in your facility.

Your air conditioning system creates considerable condensate. Many facilities are collecting this condensate for irrigation and other non potable uses.

Review the operating pressures and temperature differentials in chilled and heating water systems. Make sure that the systems are operating within the original design parameters and the specifications for any new replacement equipment. Lower differential temperatures are a sure sign of inefficient operation.

If pumps and air handling equipment can operate at partial load, evaluate the feasibility of installing variable speed drives to recoup wasted energy.

For more information regarding this issue, please contact us at (817) 461-2337.