Electrical Design goes Green
"The idea is novel, in that it adds an energy savings dimension past standard Codes for envelope, HVAC efficiiencies, and LEED requirements. No Code I am aware of addresses optimization of electric delivery and distribution systems that can be quantified by a similar method. If successful, the electric design industry can add a powerful tool to electric energy optimization even before a building is completed."
This past spring, PowerCalc applied to the US Department of Energy for a grant to incorporate its energy savings module into the Whole Building Energy Savings platform. This is a global initiative moving the earth forward to save energy in buildings. Our application was approved, but did not make the priority cutoff for funding.The above quote is from the DOE reviewer's assessment.
How can PowerCalc save at least 7% in energy use?
Unlike other electrical design software, PowerCalc designs from the bottom-up, i.e. from the circuit to the service entrance / power grid inside a facility. For the first time, the ability to calculate and specify the exacting detail of conductor sizes is easily possible. No need to just use the same conductor size throughout the design. This added design feature can save at least 7% in energy use and very likely a lot more. Energy Savings Module
What's the science?
Energy is lost during the transmission of electricity because electrons bump into other electrons and atoms. In other words, there is "friction". This "friction" is reduced when a larger conductor is used allowing more room for movement resulting in the reduction of heat generation / energy loss. This law of physics is called resistivity.
Why is this important?
In the power grid, cables are large to insure that all buildings in an area have power even during peak use times. As the conductors are oversized to accommodate all electricity transmitted, it probably does not run "hot" as its maximum capacity is not used. But inside the building, there is a single conductor / wire for each load or circuit (a light, a copy machine, etc.). When a light is on, its associated conductor is distributing the maximum amount of current, using its maximum capacity, and running "hot" due to "friction". Increasing the size of the conductors will reduce this friction, heat generated, and energy loss.
Whether in the power grid or a building's power distribution system, the conductors / wires which transmit our electricity are the single largest link between the generation and end-use consumption of electricity. And for business owners, the implementation costs in the building's power distribution system are low in terms of engineering and labor / material costs, but the potential savings in reduced energy use are substantial.
PowerCalc is applying for more grants. As part of this process, we are looking for partners to work with on relevant projects. If you'd like to participate, it would be great to speak with you. See our contact information below.