It's been seven months since the tragedy of Hurricane Maria, and while Puerto Rico's continues to struggle with its electrical grid, recent developments have led to the complete, island-wide blackout of the American territory, reports The Week. Politics and federal funding outside, the tragedy in Puerto Rico reminds Facilities Managers of the importance of maintaining power and taking steps to prevent total chaos and disruption to productivity in the event of a power outage.
Today’s Electrical Grids Are on a Virtual Cliff
Facilities Managers may operate under a false security blanket; the nation’s electric grid is aging much faster than repairs can be made. In addition, recent findings by the US intelligence community suggest the nation's electric grid is vulnerable to cyber terror. As a result, Facilities Managers must be even more proactive in planning for power outages and ensuring adequate power supplies.
Facilities Managers Can Use Energy Demand Planning to Reduce Disruptions
Such as analytics to identify sources of heat gain and heat loss, can help Facilities Managers with energy demand forecasting to reduce disruptions. Moreover, energy demand planning has potential to allow Facilities Managers to harvest renewable resources, like solar and wind energy, from the physical facilities.
For example, rooftop solar panels provide almost unlimited energy, but planning ahead requires the use of rechargeable batteries to store energy for use during nighttime hours or to power equipment necessary to business functions. Think about hospitals. They use generators and clearly designated emergency, backup power outlets, to ensure continued life-support and ability to provide care to those in need during power outages. Even if you’re industry isn’t involved in healthcare facilities management, you can learn a thing or two by studying the example of healthcare facilities.
How to Minimize the Negative Effect of Energy Demand Planning on Capital Budgeting
Facilities Managers seeking to reduce the adverse effects of poor demand planning can successfully improve capital budgeting. In other words, Facilities Managers can tap into prepared energy resources if an outage occurs. The course, powering up a backup generator works, but Facilities Managers should follow a few best practices to ensure an and disrupted power supply. These practices include the following:
- Identify critical systems.
- Clearly identify backup power sources, like the red -colored outlets in healthcare facilities.
- Deploy unit-level sensors tutoring the exact energy requirements for critical systems.
- Connect system controls to a centralized platform that can automatically accommodate changes in power supply and switch existing units to auxiliary power, if necessary.
- Use analytics to locate and create backup power supplies that will have the least impact on short-term operations.
- Work with a third-party smart building solutions provider to take advantage of the experienced professionals who have worked with emergency power services in the past.
- Use dedicated support, like ENTOUCH.360, to maximize visibility into facility assets.
- Install systems to harvest renewable energy resources, like solar panels.
- Conduct a risk assessment of power interruptions, including their likelihood of occurrence, potential causes, and solutions for both short-term and long-term use.
Plan for a Bright, Well-Lit Future Through Analytics and Demand Planning Today
While power outages are often seen as short-term events, the state of Puerto Rico's electrical grid shows the vulnerability of businesses that rely on utility companies. Facility Managers should take steps now to plan for power outages, develop backup sources of energy, and deploy such systems on demand. Of course, implementing backup power system will inherently increase maintenance costs, but the investment will reduce maintenance and disruption costs associated with power outages. Find out more by visiting ENTOUCH online or calling 1-800-820-3511 today.