The EMerge Alliance, an open industry association, is leading the rapid adoption of safe direct-current (DC) power distribution in buildings through the development of standards.* Its vision is to create open standards for room- and building-level DC microgrids for campuses and facilities, including:
- occupied spaces;
- data and telecom centres;
- building services and utilities (e.g. HVAC, pumps, air compressors, etc.);
- residential buildings and small offices; and
- outdoor power, such as vehicle-charging.
The EMerge Alliance standards are targeted to complement the existing alternating current (AC) infrastructure and standards with a hybrid DC power layer at the local load level. Larger building loads—such as HVAC, motors, and high bay/industrial applications—are often DC-based (e.g. variable frequency drives) and are ideally suited for DC microgrids.
Backed by a membership of more than 100 organizations, the alliance’s technical standards committees define touch-safe voltages and limited current potential at the user interface to enable plug-and-play device flexibility, while setting higher voltage levels for building-level power distribution and for larger load devices. In all cases, standards are being crafted to facilitate energy savings at all levels by avoiding unnecessary power conversions and maximizing the opportunity for highly articulated digital control. Perhaps most importantly, they are designed to allow direct integration of site-based renewable energy sources and storage devices without the use of costly and inefficient power inverters.
EMerge Alliance has completed standards for the occupied space and data and telecom centres, and registered products are now available to the market.
* For more information, visit www.emergealliance.org.
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