With falling corporate budgets and rising energy costs, mission critical facility operators need cost-effective power distribution. The most common power distribution practices provide the facility power at medium voltage (2400 V to 35 KV) and then step down to distribute power at 480 V to critical loads. This “step-down” approach can be a costly mistake since there are typically inherent efficiency losses and cost increases associated with this basic design.
One solution is to focus on the power distribution infrastructure and incorporate a medium voltage uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to ensure the most efficient power distribution.
People are usually surprised at how inefficiently their electrical infrastructure performs. Digital Realty Trust's recent survey of IT-dependent businesses found the average Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating at 2.9 across the industry. Compare that to some facilities that operate at an achievable 1.7-1.9 and you’ve got an efficiency issue.
In a traditional electrical distribution system there is a series of power exchanges that require energy to be reduced accordingly. When power is received from the utility at medium voltage (2400V-35KV) and transformed to 480 V for distribution, which requires several steps:
1) Utility/Power Source: Supplies power to the facility at medium voltage.
2) Primary Transformers: Power is stepped-down to “distribution voltage” (480 V) at the substation transformer.
3) UPS/PDU: Power is stepped-down again to 280/120 V by a power distribution unit (PDU).
4) IT Equipment: Power is stepped down a third time to 12Vdc, the operating voltage for most server and storage gear.
Use of this model means more added costs and greater inefficiencies in each step of the power infrastructure.
Advantages of Medium Voltage
Transitioning to a medium voltage system offers physical cost savings. Medium voltage systems require smaller or fewer conductors, which eliminate the need for expensive copper. They also avoid the voltage drop of 480V systems so there is no reduction of supplied energy as the current runs through a circuit. The more voltage drops, the greater the inefficiencies that result in lost power. Also, medium voltage systems do not have the heat and associated cooling costs associated with a lower voltage system.
UPS vs DRUPS
Typically, a UPS provides emergency, stored power to a load when the main input source fails, ensuring instantaneous protection from power interruptions. This is often one of the biggest roadblocks to transitioning to a cost-effective medium-voltage model. Typical UPS systems are static and powered with a battery that provides the energy source in case of failure. But standard UPS systems were not designed to handle a medium-voltage load. This has increasingly led companies to turn to a Diesel Rotary Uninterruptible Power Supply (DRUPS) to support the load with a diesel generator, and provide continuous backup as needed.
Modern DRUPS systems are designed to condition power at medium voltage, without the use of transformers. They operate at 97% to 98% efficiency, far higher than static systems, at a rate that minimizes losses.
One medium-voltage DRUPS unit alone can reduce a facility’s PUE by several points – not to mention the amount of money saved in energy over the lifecycle of the building.
An infrastructure operated at medium voltage is a smart, simple, and reliable alternative that offers increased efficiencies and decreased costs. Investing in a DRUPS system can help remove step-up/step-down roadblocks and offer a medium-voltage system designed to meet growing data center cost and efficiency needs.
David Mazur is chief technologist and vice president, sales and marketing for Hitec Power Protection, Inc. and can be reached at email@example.com.
You've probably heard the saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" before. Maybe you take this approach when it comes to your building's fire protection program. Why bother testing or replacing equipment that you know already works, right? In actuality, regular maintenance and testing can end up helping you in the long run. Just because a piece of fire protection equipment appears to be in good working order doesn't mean it will stay in that condition or that it is National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) code compliant.
Here are four components of a facility manager's fire protection program that can go overlooked:
1) Fire sprinkler systems – It's often believed that if fire protection equipment such as the fire sprinkler system is working then a building is in the clear. However, your fire sprinkler system may have undetected issues such as problems with valves opening and closing, corroded pipes, or damaged sprinkler heads. All of these deficiencies would render the equipment both noncompliant and dangerous in the event of a fire.
2) Obstructed equipment – Any fire protection equipment that is obstructed from view is considered noncompliant – after all, what good is equipment that no one can reach? Exit signs must not be covered or otherwise obstructed from sight. Also be sure that all paths of egress and exits are not obstructed in any way.
3) Light bulbs and backup batteries – An often disregarded fire protection system aspect is missing or burnt out light bulbs and backup batteries. These items tend to go ignored when it comes to everyday maintenance because they're not always immediately noticeable. However, forgetting to replace a light bulb or backup battery could cause a safety issue and result in a hefty fine come inspection time. Light bulbs should be replaced as part of your regularly scheduled maintenance, and backup batteries typically need to be replaced once a year.
4) Sensitivity testing – Smoke alarm sensitivity testing is another part of a facility manager's fire protection program that is regularly forgotten. If smoke alarms are too sensitive, they may be susceptible to nuisance alarms. However, if a smoke alarm is not sensitive enough, it may not be able to detect smoke from a small fire which puts building occupants in danger. According to NFPA 72, sensitivity testing should be conducted every other year after the first test.
As a facility manager, your fire protection program is one of the most important aspects of your job. No component should be considered too small or unimportant to address as soon as you notice a deficiency. Consider working with a certified fire protection provider to restructure your current fire protection program and keep track of regular maintenance and inspection schedules. By regularly maintaining, testing, and inspecting all fire protection equipment, you can ensure security and compliance for your building and most importantly, safety for occupants.
John Amann is vice president of operations for Cintas Corporation, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spot Coolers commercial portable heating & cooling. Nationwide Emergency service 24/7. Your source for portable air conditioning rentals and sales.
Need portable cooling for data centers, offices & more? Atlas Sales & Rentals is on call 24/7 from locations nationwide. Fast service, competitive prices.
FARO is the world's most trusted source for 3D measurement, imaging and realization technology. The company develops and markets computer-aided measurement and imaging devices and software. Technology from FARO permits high-precision 3D measurement, imaging and comparison of parts within production and quality assurance processes. The Focus3D X 330 Laser Scanner is the perfect tool for 3D documentation of as-built conditions for new builds, renovations and historical preservation. The Focus3D X 330 can scan objects up to 330 meters away and in direct sunlight. With its integrated GPS receiver, the laser scanner is able to correlate individual scans in post-processing making it ideal for architectural, construction, engineering and surveying based applications. http://www.faro.com/focus
Red Hawk: A comprehensive range of contemporary fire and security solutions. One that’s just right for your business. That’s the power of experience. www.redhawkus.com
Could your facility be losing out on possible energy savings?
Read the rest of entry »
Everyone knows to check their fire extinguishers, but are you overlooking crucial elements of your facility's fire protection program?
Spray polyurethane foam is a functional solution for both building envelope and roofing improvements.
Expansion joints are a critical element for earthquake resiliency.
Learn strategies to keep your retail facility as energy efficient as possible.
Ensure your building is cloud-ready to make the best impression on potential tenants.
Consider switching sports facility lighting systems for big savings.
Learn how your building's architectural design can help ward off criminal activity.
Are you doing everything you should be to protect your facility's roof?
Make sure your emergency communications are received and understood.
The BUILDINGS brand serves commercial building owners and facilities management professionals for commercial real estate. BUILDINGS brand offers its audience of commercial building owners and facilities management professionals information on the development, construction, modernization, management and operations of commercial buildings as well as the products and services needed to support such commercial buildings and facilities management. With the information we offer, we help facilities management professionals make smarter decisions for commercial buildings.
BUILDINGS delivers relevant and timely information that equips commercial building owners and facilities management professionals with the knowledge and support they need to solve critical issues; energy management, lowering operating costs, new products for commercial buildings, security, and much more.
BUILDINGS provides facilities management professionals commercial buildings tips and trends trough online webinar events (BuildingsVIP), monthly newsletters, whitepapers and case studies.
In addition to content, BUILDINGS features a comprehensive list of products and services and is your link to the companies that provide these valuable facilities management and commercial buildings resources.
You also have the opportunity to maintain your commercial buildings certifications with BUILDINGS. Continuing Education Units are available with approved content from BOMI.
©Copyright 2014 Stamats Communications, Inc. All rights reserved / BUILDINGS