How to Use 90 Percent Less Energy in Your Health Care Facility
Earth Rangers promotes conservation to children, and its green headquarters educates business professionals about sustainable technologies.
Hundreds of data points throughout the Earth Rangers Centre, including its solar array, aviary and water treatment facility, are delivered to the Schneider Electric’s Energy Management Information System (EMIS) and analyzed on dashboards.
of the facility’s electricity, and that about half of the building’s energy load is through the heat pump, which uses electricity to transfer energy for heating and cooling between the ground and the building. He’d like to trim 5 percent to 10 percent from that load.
Through the Energy Operations cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, he can also see if the parking lot’s solar array on tracking poles is not producing the amount of power promised, because some panels are partially shaded by large trees late in the day.
He can track water consumption from the facility’s water recycling system that uses graywater and blackwater and filters the water for reuse in irrigation and the flushing of toilets.
Mostly, Schonberger says, the facility uses the energy management systems for preventative and predictive maintenance. He can see by energy usage and other levels if systems are not performing as they should and require service or replacement. He can also look at how the center is doing for energy consumption and how much energy its solar PV systems are producing, as Earth Rangers gets paid for grid-tied power production by the local utility.
Schneider has also benefited from having its systems installed and its StruxureWare Energy Operations software piloted in the Earth Rangers Centre. “We’ve learned quite a bit about software configuration and software capabilities,” says Schneider Electric’s Moffatt. “Andy has given us a user perspective on how to modify the program so it’s easier to use and configure.”
Plug Load Surprise
One of the biggest surprises Schonberger has found is that the plug load has been increasing by 15 percent, due to the proliferation of devices in the offices. “We’re looking at upgrading switches and network infrastructure, so I can see what printers, Macs, monitors are doing and take that pie slice and split it up.”
Right now there’s no way to see what each device is drawing. The energy monitoring system reports on about 91 heavy power consumers that consultants identified, but don’t go as granular as circuit-level or plug-level.
“We haven’t quite used [the systems] for a lot of tenant engagement yet,” Schonberger says. “We want to give warnings to staff if energy loads are high.”
The goal for the center is net zero, meaning the facility produces all of its own power. Earth Rangers Centre isn’t there yet, and trimming down to that level will be a major challenge for Schonberger. “We’re at the point now when we’re trying to completely black out building when it’s armed, to kill 2 kW at night.”