The mark of the great cities of America include the towering skyscrapers. They provide the beauty, the preponderance of wealth and the magnet for businesses and the people. These massive buildings create the landmark skylines of the country’s famous cities such as New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Miami and the list of these population epicenters can go on and on. These Steel, Glass, and Concrete structures teem with systems from HVAC, Water, to Security, and massive Electrical distributions solutions. Teams of trades people and technical professionals are solicited to run the buildings of today.
Many of these structures are not new. A great majority of them can be twenty, thirty, or more years old. Hence, there distribution systems are antiquated, and have had to have been updated and upgraded many times. The clear advantage goes to the newer buildings that have been built with modernity in mind. These are the green buildings of today. They are built with vast open spaces, large windows that enable light to penetrate deep into the interior of the structure. They have open spaces located in high places where tress and gardens are planted, These touches are the hallmark of the green structure, and they also play into tremendous costs savings. These structures are now replete with computer systems that monitor their energy consumption around the clock. They have always provided fantastic opportunities for the commercial electrician. Cable always needed pulled, and power distributed, and then when the upgrades were needed once again the Master Electricians were pulled into confirm the validity of the designs and to implement the plans. Labor needs were plentiful.
Today the energy debates surround us and these modern giants are an easy target. They are looked at as places of needless overconsumption. To refute or affirm such accusations data must be collected, and the effort to meter these buildings across the country has become central to the debate about the building uses. The metering initiative runs deep from the entirety of consumption to more specific metering at the tenant level, and hence the need for smart metering to assure that accurate data has been collected.
The Importance of Metering
Metering has become so important that it will often extend into building codes. This makes metering a matter of regulation. Certain size buildings will fall out of compliance if metering does not conform to the code requirement. Metering of electrical consumption extends to HVAC, Hot water, lighting, plug loads, and specific process loads. All of the metered data will be brought back for central processing to enable building managers to have a detailed look into patterns, and the location of potential problem areas where consumption for one reason or another has slipped out of control. The details must be provided if management holds responsibility and in turn must correct. Without such metered data their work cannot be performed.
Metering provides the promises for the future, but only so much has been adopted up to this point, and building codes are still very antiquated when it comes to modern data collection techniques. Most industry analysts that are honest about the subject, admit that most buildings are still wasting a good 50% of the energy they consume. Given this statistic it becomes simplistic to see why these beautiful showpieces of the modern city have become easy targets. They are easy marks for improvement, and they provide a tremendous boost to the licensed electrician’s economic well being. Hence, special interests, those being the professional electrical trade unions and other professional fraternities will lobby government to add specific metering requirements to the code as it benefits their members, and obviously society as a hole.
The Current Trends
The trends have pushed some major metropolitan areas to establish specific goals of carbon neutrality by specific dates. One city, Seattle, has set the ambitious target date for carbon neutrality by 2050, and they are taking the steps now to make it happen.
By definition, Carbon Neutrality means the following: Simply put, indicates that a city that makes sets this requirement states that they will remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as they place into it.
Such initiatives as Carbon Neutrality require deeper leadership than that which can come from a spattering of cities. The Federal Government has made the decision under the leadership of the Obama Administration to require that all U.S. Government buildings begin the process of sub metering. Sub metering allows for the acquisition of the needed data by applying the devices to meter the consumption of energy at points throughout the building and not just as the building in total or deeper than simple tenant metering. The Federal Government has often times led the way with such initiatives as it has the resources and the reason to install such an initiative as they have the facilities that could realize incredible savings.
Beyond the Skyscrapers and business parks the Universities are also key places where such efforts will derive tremendous payoff. In addition, the Colleges and Universities are often places where research and development can take place that allow for the creation of new ideas and devices that can change the way such an effort would be undertaken. These institutions will typically, have the economy of scale with the size and types of buildings that will allow for dramatic saving changes.
As time proceeds, and more and more of these smart meters are deployed the data will become further and further refined. The savings will become dramatic and obvious. All of these early efforts will lead to the kind of changes that are needed to make a difference. Smart energy metering will be a part of the solution for the future. This means smart electricians are needed for the implementation of the plan.