College Park, GA (PRWEB) May 14, 2014
The United States ranks first in the world in the amount of electricity it consumes annually. Overall, 3.8 billion Kilowatt hours of electricity was consumed in 2011 compared to 2.1 billion Kilowatt hours consumed in 1980. More recently, renewable power sources were introduced to offset electricity consumption, resulting in 13 percent of electricity produced in the U.S. in 2013.
Mounting demand on existing natural resources prompted North Georgia University Environmental Science Professor Margaret Smith to challenge students to find new solutions which could make a difference. Rising senior Shannon Quinn tackled the problem of energy loss by installing the Armstrong DC FlexZone™ Ceiling Suspension System at Club Entrepreneur in College Park. The installation enabled the conversion of alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC), thereby saving energy. The DC FlexZone is a ceiling suspension system containing DC enabled outlets, which provide the necessary infrastructure to deliver low voltage DC power within a facility. The powered bus bar system is designed within EMerge Alliance 24 Volt DC occupied space standards.
“That brick on your computer power cord is what converts alternating current to direct current. When the brick gets hot, that’s thermal loss and energy wasted,” Miss Quinn said. “The conversion process on all that equipment means more electricity is needed to keep it cool. DC converters reduce power requirements by half; where AC uses 200 watts, DC reduces the requirement to 60 watts.”
University of North Georgia Environmental Sciences focuses its teaching on innovative approaches to resource management. Students are required to show how they can provide real-world solutions to today’s challenges through the use of technology, Dr. Smith said.
“Today’s college students understand we live in a world of limited resources, and DC conversion makes sense from a sustainability perspective,” Dr. Smith said. “Our laptops, tablets and other devices consume a tremendous amount of electricity and require even greater demands on the existing grid. Rather than build new power plants to meet the demand, we need to consider energy-efficient alternatives to more effectively utilize the resources we have now.”
The University of North Georgia student selected Club Entrepreneur to conduct the project as several energy-saving initiatives are already underway there. Club Entrepreneur is a full-service business center and entrepreneurial ecosystem enabling individuals and start-up companies to have access to office space, high-speed Internet and communications. It’s also a “living laboratory” for IP UtiliNET, an Atlanta-based, veteran-owned professional services firm specializing in centrally managed communications, energy networks and security solutions.
Club Entrepreneur combines single mode fiber optics and DC microgrid technology on a sustainable network (SustaNET©) enabling management of all systems – LED lighting, high-speed Internet, telephony, heating/cooling and security - from one central module, which reduces cooling requirements and the need for electronic switches.
Installation of the Armstrong DC FlexZone™ enables Club Entrepreneur to house ceiling mounted 24-Volt DC-powered LED lighting and PSMs in the facility, thereby reducing power requirements, Miss Quinn said. Club Entrepreneur Café lighting and sidewalk ceiling fans consume the equivalent of eight 60 watt lamps, which is the lighting consumption equivalent of a mid-sized master bathroom.
Although most electronics today rely on direct current due to the introduction of DC native microchip technology, electricity continues to be delivered from the power grid as alternating current, which results in energy loss in the conversion process.
“DC FlexZone grid can significantly improve the flexibility and reuse of interior spaces by enabling faster and easier repurposing and reconfigurations to satisfy the changing needs of the occupants without the need to rewire. In addition to enhanced interior flexibility, DC FlexZone grid can also contribute to the energy efficiency of buildings by enabling the use of more energy efficient devices and controls, such as LED lighting,” said Dustin Hostetter, WAVE (Worthington Armstrong Venture), Manager of Business Development.
DC conversion is a practical solution to today’s energy demand, Miss Quinn said. “People don’t realize there is a better way to do things,” Ms. Quinn said. “Reducing the amount of power we use by enabling a DC environment makes good economic sense, it’s better for the environment, and it’s a practical solution to thermal loss.”
About IP UtiliNET
IP UtiliNET is an Atlanta-based, veteran-owned professional services firm specializing in centrally managed communications, energy networks, product lifecycle solutions and security services. Offering site service solutions in 145 countries and 392 cities worldwide, Service offerings include single mode fiber LANvisn™ Passive Optical Networks (PON), facial biometric security, sustainable and renewable energy (SustaNET©) including LED lighting systems, and technology lifecycle services. For more information, visit http://www.iputilinet.com.