In designing and engineering a retail facility, one key objective is to construct a store that uses space and energy efficiently. But, how does one accomplish this? With an integrated electrical package.
Historically installed as separate electrical pieces, lighting, heating, cooling, and electrical controls are now being combined into integrated panels to create control packages with increased accessibility, functionality, and capabilities.Why take an integrated approach? An integrated electrical power package typically combines electrical distribution, environmental control, energy management, monitoring, and power quality into one small central integrated electrical line-up that is factory-preassembled and -tested. Replacing standard breakers with remotely controllable motorized breakers, which are controlled locally or through a building automation system, can eliminate conventional relay and lighting contactor panels. Surge suppressors and revenue-metering equipment can also be incorporated into such a system. There are several advantages to using an integrated package:
Decreased installation time and cost. Managing deliveries of individual components from multiple vendors and then coordinating those vendors to install, wire, and test their components can consume weeks of a construction schedule; delays occur. The integrated package provides a reliable system that complies with the National Electric Code (NEC) and Underwriters Laboratories’ (UL’s) requirements from just one vendor. It can be connected and deployed rapidly upon receipt at the jobsite. Most integrated packages can be up and running in less than two weeks from the date of shipment. The use of integrated electrical product packages improves scheduling, reduces risk, shortens installation time, and reduces installation costs. The shortened construction cycle gives the owner an improved cash flow and improves the investment’s return.
Uniform electrical design at multiple locations. When multiple stores are involved, the same proven design can be used at several locations. Volume purchasing discounts can be negotiated and future maintenance costs are reduced. Training time for new employees is shorter, and spare parts inventories are reduced.
Minimal space required for installation. The NEC requires a minimum of 36 inches of working clearance or aisle space, so traditional loose equipment designs can consume a significant amount of space for the control room. Because an integrated system can be consolidated as one electrical package, it typically provides space savings of 50 to 60 percent over the conventional approach. Space savings realized in the electrical control room can be redirected to the work/sales floor, optimizing a facility’s potential for more sales and profits.
Decreased utility costs. Integrated systems can be connected with automated building control modules to improve a facility manager’s ability to monitor and manage utilities. For example, interior lighting can be controlled through individual circuit breakers that have the ability to be remotely programmable and individually monitored rather than one main contactor for an entire panel. Facility managers can create lighting blocks and then program them to turn on or off at specified times which minimizes costs when the space is not in use.
In conclusion, the cost of installing an integrated electrical package can be recouped easily many times over. Installing an integrated package helps to avoid delays in building construction and provides facility managers with a streamlined electrical installation, standardization, flexibility, and increased cash flow.
Scott Pinder is epiProducts business director at Copley, OH-based Novar Controls Corp., a provider of high technology solutions for building controls and energy management. For more information, please call (800) 348-1236, e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit (www.novarcontrols.com).