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3 ways that the right technology (and expertise) can help your organization reduce carbon, waste, and downtime by Schneider Electric

Conrad van Rooyen

Conrad van Rooyen is the co-founder and general manager of Hexeis, an Australian-based electrical engineering consultancy. Hexeis provides industry-leading energy analysis, monitoring and management solutions and is a certified Schneider Electric Master Power Management EcoXpert Partner.

Implementing digitalized solutions to monitor your company’s power quality can set a firm foundation for sustainability and improve operations continuity. And, it can help you reach your carbon reduction goals.

Whether you are leading a business, managing a facility, or controlling an organization’s accounts, sustainability and carbon reduction are likely part of your corporate and operational goals. Keeping people and processes working without interruption and maximizing the continuity of your operations is critical to realizing business sustainability.

As a Schneider Electric Master Power Management EcoXpert Partner in Queensland, Australia, our company, Hexeis, has helped many companies to understand, correct, and even avoid the impacts of poor power quality on their operations. In this post, I’ll share some stories showing how power quality problems impact energy efficiency, costs, emissions, and uptime. And I’ll talk about how power digitalization is critical to uncovering and resolving these issues and overall carbon reduction. Let’s look at three ways that engaging the right technology and expertise can help your organization reduce carbon, waste, and downtime.

1. Choosing an expert solution provider helps you choose the right solution

At the bottom line, power quality is a sustainability issue. If a power problem causes equipment to run inefficiently, it wastes energy. If it fails too soon, it must be replaced with something that ultimately requires carbon emissions to manufacture and deliver.

Unfortunately, power quality problems often go unnoticed until they cause severe problems for equipment efficiency, energy costs, reliability, or safety. Uncovering and solving these issues requires diligence. A comprehensive, expert assessment is the best way to do this. Otherwise, the chosen mitigation could be ineffective or cause other problems.

For example, an engineer from another vendor told a client that their high bay lights were failing because of power harmonics. The vendor ultimately recommended a $40k harmonic filtering solution. When Hexeis investigated the situation, we used a portable power quality analyzer over seven days. We then determined the lights were actually failing because the lighting control system had an incorrect type of light contactor (switch), causing the damage. We were able to advise the client to pursue a targeted solution. In this case, investing in expensive active harmonic filtering would have wasted money.

In another example, we worked with a hospital client within a mixed facility site that shares an electrical substation with a nearby train station. The hospital was experiencing power problems and asked us to investigate. We used power quality analytics to determine that the root cause was outside their facility. It showed events that occurred when scheduled network operations were performed. This analysis helped the client negotiate with the network operator to implement mitigation measures.

These examples help illustrate that you can save money and improve your operations by acquiring all the relevant power data and knowing how to use it before acting on a power quality problem.

2. Continuous monitoring helps ensure continuous performance

In my last post, I described how poor power factor can waste energy and carbon and even reduce your power system capacity. Properly rated power factor correction equipment can help. But what if that equipment fails or conditions in your facility change over time, such as a facility expansion or a change in production schedules? To ensure sustainable operations and reduce carbon, you must digitalize your power system to continuously capture new threats and opportunities.

One client, who owns a 10-pin bowling alley, took over three months to realize their power factor correction system had failed. Because of that, they were paying high power factor penalty charges. They were losing the savings they were expecting to gain from the solution they had implemented. If that had continued for another six months, they would have wasted enough money to extend the return on that capital investment from 18 to 24 months. Continuous power quality monitoring would have identified this problem earlier.

For another client, we send automatically generated reports that convert engineering data into monetary terms directly to their accountant. These reports detail what their power factor costs them each month. Accountants may not be versed in power data, but they are very good at calculating return on investments and identifying when an asset costs them money. If the accountant sees costs related to power factor changing, they will call a technician to either reconfigure or reprogram the correction system as required.

The strength of digitalization is that it helps you find issues before they become problems. If you wait for a problem to appear, you may have already suffered losses, damage, or downtime that cost you far more than the investment in a monitoring system.

3. Automated intelligence helps save time and money

Many organizations are losing experienced facility personnel due to retirement and have found it challenging to replace them. This makes it hard for facility teams to keep up with growing responsibilities, especially without specialized expertise in disciplines like power quality. Partnering with experts like Hexeis and digitizing your power system can help.

Even so, keeping on top of power-quality ‘big data’ for an entire facility or campus can be time-consuming. It requires uncovering each issue, developing and implementing a mitigation solution, and validating its operation in the near term and over its lifespan. That’s why Hexeis has automated nearly 95% of the power quality detection process.

We use the advanced capabilities of PowerLogic™ ION meters and EcoStruxure™ Power Monitoring Expert software from Schneider Electric to develop custom data processing and analytics apps. Whether used for temporary analysis over a few days or as part of a permanent monitoring program, these custom apps automatically analyze data and intelligently generate reports that flag any power quality issues in simple, understandable terms. Our clients can receive these reports directly, or the Hexeis team can help review them.

This enables investment to be focused on using our expertise to consult on and implement the most appropriate, evidence-based solution.

Learn more about our complete solutions for power quality mitigation and how Hexeis can help you determine what will work best for your organization.

EcoXperts are the enablers of net-zero buildings

The EcoXpert Partner Program is unique in its industry and made up of a best-in-class, global ecosystem of expertise. Trained and certified by Schneider Electric, EcoXpert partners digitize and electrify our world for a more sustainable future.

The path to net zero is about delivering solutions for sustainable, resilient, efficient, and people-centric buildings. For our EcoXpert partners, this unveils immense growth opportunities through the transition to end-to-end portfolio sales that will resolve our customers’ most critical needs. For our shared customers, this means that together with our EcoXpert partners, we will drive the building industry transformation and help our customers survive and thrive today – and tomorrow.

Visit the EcoXpert webpage to learn more.

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