DC power: Coming soon to an office near you

There’s a movement underfoot to bring DC power to commercial building interiors. Members of the EMerge Alliance agreed upon a standard, but the announcement last month didn’t make much of a splash in the press. To tell you the truth, I put the press release aside until this week when I spoke with alliance chair Brian Patterson of Armstrong World Industries. He filled me in on the year-old organization, the work it is doing, and the implications of this standard. EMerge Alliance Standard Flow Chart For instance, building owners soon could find it easier to reconfigure space for new tenants.  Instead of rewiring a floor, owners can plug light fixtures into the ceiling grid. They’ll move fixtures around as easily as furniture. Facility managers will be able to integrate native wind energy into their buildings without first converting it to alternating current.
The statement from the alliance said the standard establishes a more efficient means of powering digital, DC-powered devices, such as sensors, lighting, and IT equipment. It creates an integrated, open platform for power, interior infrastructures, controls, and peripheral devices to facilitate the hybrid use of AC and DC power within buildings.
EMerge Alliance members favor the use of 24-V DC power, which allows for a “plug and play” approach to rewiring, said Patterson. He added that low voltage no longer equates to low performance.
Founding members are Armstrong World Industries, Johnson Controls, Nextek Power Systems, Osram Sylvania, and Worthington Armstrong Venture. Convia, Creston Electronics, Herman Miller, Lutron Electronics, Southern California Edison, Steelcase, and Tyco Electronics are among the participating members. The not-for-profit organization seeks additional members.
The alliance is establishing a third-party registration and evaluation program for labeling products based on the standard. The program is scheduled to begin this fall. Standard-compliant devices will be branded with the EMerge designation.
Check out the EMerge Alliance website for more informational, including a 3-minute instructional video. If you are attending Greenbuild in Phoenix next week, stop by the Alliance’s booth 2252. — Jim Carper

Speak Your Mind

*