Power Management

Smart Circuit Breakers and ISO 50001: A Perfect Match for Efficiency

As the world’s population continues to grow so will energy consumption. With over a billion people still without access to electricity and increasing migrations to cities, more energy will be needed to improve living standards, construct new commercial and industrial buildings, and expand transportation infrastructures. With this future looming, it’s more important than ever for every country, organization, and individual to be focusing on improving energy efficiency.

If your organization hasn’t done so already, it’s a good time to be putting an efficiency plan in place, with the right tools to support it. Let’s take a look at how new standards can help you get there. You may be surprised that your circuit breakers can play an important and cost-effective part in this effort.

Riding the new wave of efficiency

Fortunately, a number of global initiatives are pushing efficiency forward. Beyond the COP21 country commitments to curb the use of fossil fuels, many have already put regulations in place that take into account the part electricity plays in producing greenhouse gases. In addition to developing the use of renewables, energy efficiency is high on the list of objectives. It’s been estimated that by implementing the appropriate energy-efficient equipment and controls, energy savings of up to 30% are possible. Doing so will not only help your facility reduce energy-related emissions, it will also cut associated energy costs.

Energy efficiency in buildings is being driven through a number of means, including national and international regulations and standards. For example, the 2012 Energy Efficiency Directive is mandating all EU countries to improve efficiency at all stages of the energy chain, including requiring larger companies to do regular energy audits or use an energy management system. However, voluntary programs have also become popular, with a growing number of building owners and occupiers adopting sustainable solutions to achieve high-profile ‘green’ certifications such as LEED in the US, BREAM in the UK, and DNGB in Germany. These certifications typically require documentation that includes accurate energy measurements throughout a facility.

ISO 50001: a clear path to success

One of the largest sets of global initiatives has been the development of ISO and IEC energy efficiency standards. The most important of these are:

  • ISO 50001 – This standard offers guidance in developing an energy management system to assess a complete site.
  • ISO 50006 – This supporting standard covers assessment tools used to measure energy baselines and energy performance indicators.
  • IEC 60364-8 – This is a relatively new standard that includes specific guidance on energy efficiency in low voltage installations.
  • IEC 61557-12 – This standard helps you choose the most appropriate metering and monitoring devices to support your efforts in meeting the above ISO and IEC standards.

To look at this in the simplest way, the ISO 50001 standard provides the overall energy management framework for organizations to develop policies, set objectives, measure and evaluate results, all toward continuous improvement. ISO 50006 is a companion standard that provides practical guidance on how to monitor energy performance over time.

IEC 60364-8-1 digs deeper by giving requirements and recommendations for the design of an electrical installation with an energy efficiency approach, for example to minimize losses, use electricity at the right time, and maintain performance over the entire life cycle. The standard also includes guidance on installing control and monitoring equipment, as well as choosing the best methods for assessing various aspects energy performance, such as load profiling. In addition, it illustrates how to implement a management system within the installation, defining the types of data to be collected (e.g. energy consumption, temperature, pricing), and decision-making steps based on that data (e.g. load shedding).

It’s important to understand that ‘passive’ energy efficiency actions – for example reducing heat loss and installing energy-efficient equipment – can typically only achieve up to 15% overall savings. To achieve the full 30% of potential savings requires ‘active’ energy efficiency actions, enabled by a complete energy management system that includes monitoring and automated control. Having networked metering devices throughout your facility is a critical part of this strategy.

The right data from the right places

The IEC 61557-12 standard offers guidance in choosing measuring devices that address most applications in switchboards and panels worldwide. Typical applications you may want to address are cost allocation, bill checking, sub-billing, energy usage and efficiency analysis, and contract optimization. Of course, you’ll also want to ensure compliance of your facility with the ISO 50001 standard. In addition, you should be monitoring the overall ‘health’ of your electrical distribution system, as the reliability of your power will also affect efficiency.

To address all of these applications, you’ll need devices that can provide measurements ranging from active and reactive energy to power demand, as well as various power parameters like frequency, voltage, and harmonics. There are many different types of devices that provide many or most of these measurements. These can include power monitoring devices (PMD) complying with IEC 61557-12 and power quality instruments (PQI) complying with IEC 62586-1.

Breakers with energy brains

The good news is that many of the measurements needed to support your energy efficiency plan can be provided by today’s smart circuit breakers. Many circuit breakers now offer embedded metering functions. This can mean big savings in cost and time to your organization, as it avoids the need to purchase, install, and wire additional power metering devices. You will already have circuit breakers installed in key locations throughout your electrical system. If these are smart breakers, they can provide the data you need, transmitted automatically over your facility’s communication network, feeding it to your power and energy management application.

The Masterpact™ MTZ smart circuit breaker from Schneider Electric directly supports the implementation of the ISO 50001 and IEC 60364-8 standards within an organization, by offering active and reactive energy measurements with Class 1 accuracy. This is ideally suited for metering at any secondary distribution points beyond the main switchboard. The breaker also measures power demand, current, voltage, frequency, power factor, phase imbalance, and harmonics. It’s suitable for a wide range of applications, including harsh industrial environments, maintaining accuracy from -25°C to +70°C over its full measurement range. Finally, the Masterpact MTZ is available with a third party certificate of conformity according to the IEC 61557-12 standard.

This has been the fifth post in our series on how the newest smart circuit breakers are helping improve operational efficiency and reliability. To learn more, please visit the  Masterpact MTZ product page.


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