Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

August 26, 2021

Schneider Electric LogoBy Schneider Electric

Energy waste is happening all around us, and it’s contributing to climate change. Yet fighting this invisible foe is near impossible – unless we make the invisible visible. Digital innovation, combined with a shift to more electrification, holds the key to tackling climate change, unlocking the ability to see and measure our impact, so we can recognize and reduce it.

Ironically, digital adoption is also one of the biggest barriers to action. Confusion around what to invest in has caused many businesses to delay decisions and wait for a ‘miracle cure’. This paralysis is part of the problem.

But the solutions already exist. Reducing perceived risk and uncertainty will create frameworks in which businesses and consumers can adopt digital solutions early. This starts with raising our standards and working to ensure that the solutions we deploy are energy efficient, open, interoperable, and future proof. Only at this point will we really be able to turn a corner in the battle against climate change.

If we truly want to tackle climate change, it makes sense to turn our attention to the biggest contributors. Buildings account for almost a third of the world’s CO2 emissions by source, a number that rises to almost 40 per cent when factoring in construction. In the developing world, residential homes are shortly set to become the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions, according to according to a report published in PNAS.

The solution is to build new buildings better from the outset, and to retrofit existing ones so they become more energy efficient. We know that today, Schneider Electric estimates that 82 per cent of the potential means to reduce energy waste in buildings alone remains untapped. But how do we know what ‘good’ looks like? Positive change won’t be possible without raising some of the existing standards and regulations, accelerating their adoption, raising the bar.

Faster adoption of standards for new buildings

The low-hanging fruit is to ensure that all new buildings are compliant with government regulations, are net-zero, energy efficient and people-centric by design.

While we are seeing more developers unlocking smart, sustainable solutions and energy-efficiency in new buildings, progress remains slow.

Thankfully, tighter regulations are being adopted in many parts of the world. In Europe, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) requires all new buildings from 2021 to be nearly zero-energy (NZEB). Hong Kong aims to reduce its absolute carbon emissions in 2030 by between 26 per cent and 36 per cent, relative to 2005 levels. Singapore aims  to have at least 80 per cent of commercial and public buildings Green Mark certified by 2030. In the U.S., 23 states have committed to greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets via legislation or executive order.

Better energy efficiency in existing buildings

What about buildings that haven’t been created ‘smart’ and energy efficient from the outset? 85-95 per cent of buildings that exist in the EU today will still be standing in 2050. Globally, the European Commission estimates that proportion is two-thirds.

Today, software and connected smart technologies – the brain and the nervous system of a building – can control the building’s ‘shell’ and heating system, and ultimately determine how smart and energy efficient it will be. And they can be deployed not just in new-builds, but also in buildings that are centuries old.

Retrofits are also a win in terms of Return on Investment (ROI). We estimate that the average payback on digital retrofits is just one to three years, compared to 10 years on physical modifications like insulation. We typically see a 30 per cent reduction in energy usage, and similar reduction in operational costs, as a direct result of smart building technologies that improve sustainability, energy efficiency, and enable buildings to generate their own energy through solar power and microgrids and use it to power critical operations.

Encouragingly, several countries have included building-renovation subsidies into their pandemic-related stimulus packages.

Energy efficiency is the cheapest and easiest way to reduce energy demand and CO2 emissions. By 2035, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that US$550-billion will be invested per year in energy efficiency solutions. To date, European governments have pledged US$57-billion to energy efficiency measures (or 86 per cent of global stimulus announcements for efficiency), with the remaining 14 per cent split between Asia Pacific and North America, according to the IEA. We must make the most of this investment and ensure the benefits of energy efficiency become abundantly clear to consumers and companies alike.

Electrifying heating: A key way to lower emissions

Alongside retrofits, the electrification of domestic heating systems – which currently rely heavily on fossil fuels — will play a major role in reducing our impact on the planet, driven by regulations for new buildings. Safe and cost-effective technologies such as electric heat pumps are already widely available in many countries, and can be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy sources. They are the best (and only realistic) choice for decarbonizing domestic heating.

Our modelling, leveraging BloombergNEF’s Heating Unit Economics Calculator, suggests that in commercial buildings, too, there is a strong business case for installing electric systems, over gas or oil-based systems. Despite this, only around 5 per cent of heating in such buildings is currently electrified.[1] This number will have to increase to 80-90 per cent by 2050 to successfully mitigate the worst effects of climate change.[1] What’s more, demand for green, energy efficient buildings from corporate and private tenants is on the rise, so it’s an investment worth making.

Better technology standards

Whilst building standards and incentives require governments to legislate for change, when it comes to creating an environment to encourage the wider adoption of sustainable smart home and building technology, business is at the fore.

Sustainability will be the clear winner only when all IoT-connected smart technologies in a building – from Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) to smart plugs, to security systems – can be controlled by cutting-edge digital solutions and software, and powered by green electricity. This is when buildings will be able to attain superior levels of energy efficiency, the ability to power their own needs through renewable energy generation on site and decarbonize their heating and cooling systems – while allowing tenants to charge their EVs – all in a sustainable and environmentally responsible way.

This is why we welcome the new open-source, unified connectivity protocol, Matter, for smart home and building solutions. Matter tackles the problem of smart device interoperability head-on, delivering improved cyber security, native cloud connectivity, and device interoperability.

More importantly, sustainability and energy efficiency gains will be the longer-term benefit of this vendor-agnostic standard, enabling native integration of smart building, smart energy management and EV charging – which currently tend to be distinctive, self-contained systems. The standard will ensure that homeowners aren’t locked in to one particular vendor of smart devices, and systems don’t have to be ripped out and replaced wholesale as new solutions come onto the market.

With the help of AI-enabled and software-driven smart energy management solutions, consumers, building owners and tenants will be in the driving seat of how energy in the home is produced, stored, distributed and consumed.

What’s more, the ability to produce renewable energy through solar and microgrids, and store it for future use, will make it possible for smart building systems to prioritize green energy power, ensuring power-hungry appliances and devices, including EVs, consume most of their energy from decarbonized energy sources.

Clarity of mission and vision: energy efficiency and clean electricity are key to fighting global warming

We are the first generation to really understand the full implications of climate change – and perhaps the last to be able to make a difference. Armed with knowledge and technology, we must act fast to avoid future catastrophe.

The first step is to become more efficient in how we consume energy, and to remove fossil fuels from places where they don’t have to be – our homes and offices, our cars, public transport and our cities.

Raising standards for urban environments and technology will mean better standards of life for all of us – and guarantee better outcomes for the planet. Digital solutions and clean electricity are the way to get there.

[1] Schneider Electric Research. The efficiency of heat pumps specifically is typically called ‘coefficient of performance’ (COP).


Five Tips to Find Time for Field Service Marketing

SimProTime is a precious resource that we all want more of. And if you own a field service business or work for one, you undoubtedly know how hard it is to find time for everything you need to accomplish in a workday, let alone a week, a quarter, or a year.

Like many of us, you do your best to check every item off of the to-do list during working hours while inevitably pushing lower priority items off to another day. And often, marketing your field service business is one of those things that easily falls to the wayside after being pushed back for more urgent matters.

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Become a Wiser Approved Installer

Wiser Approved Installer

Get access to exclusive benefits, product discounts and resources that will help you drive more business, and lower energy bills for your clients.




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Government of CanadaThe federal governemnt has officially launched a call for proposals (CFP) for the Zero-Emission Vehicle Awareness Initiative (ZEVAI). The initiative’s 2022 CFP will help fund new and innovative projects that aim to increase awareness and knowledge of ZEVs and charging and refueling infrastructure thereby increasing public confidence in these vehicles and their economic and environmental benefits.

Natural Resources Canada will provide funding through non-repayable contributions of between 50 and 75 percent of the total eligible project costs, with a maximum funding of up to $300,000 per project. The CFP will close on August 18, 2022.

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Omnicable joins ETIMETIM North America announced that OmniCable has joined the product classification standards organization. Headquartered in West Chester, PA, OmniCable has 24 locations throughout North America, and also owns Houston Wire & Cable (HWC). The company partners with many electrical manufacturers and only sells to distributors.

According to John Dean, Director of Marketing & E-Commerce, OmniCable/HWC, “The wire and cable industry is often called commodities, but there are very distinct features and attributes for the different products our manufacturers produce. 

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Atkore United Poly SystemsAtkore Inc. announced that it has acquired United Poly Systems, a manufacturer of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pressure pipe and conduit, primarily serving telecom, water infrastructure, renewables, and energy markets.

“We are pleased to complete the acquisition of United Poly Systems, which strengthens Atkore’s product portfolio, expands our manufacturing capacity and further enables us to meet HDPE customers’ needs,” stated John Pregenzer, President of Atkore’s Electrical business. “HDPE pipe and conduit is a growing market that is expected to benefit from U.S. infrastructure legislation, and United Poly Systems is a great addition to Atkore. We welcome these employees and look forward to working together to continue to serve and support our customers.”

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Canadian Electrical Contractor Discussion Group: Can You Count the Deficiencies?

EIN CECD 400Have you ever been called to fix the work of a 'handyman'?

"Was supposedly done by a"certified ' electrician....told the homeowner that he got a $266 record at TSBC. Can you count the deficiencies?"

"There is a second panel change in the triplex also.......even more deficiencies. Think the guy was a glorified handyman. Ones not obvious: 240 BB heat hooked up 120....drier on 2p20....range on 2p50....water heater fed with 2c14 Bx on 2p15."

Go HERE to join the discussion



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