Schneider’s Lorne Hedges on Square D X Series Wiring Devices, Wiser Energy, and Square D Energy Centre

EIN SE Wiring Devices 400

December 16, 2021

By Blake Marchand

Lorne Hedges is a National Marketing Manager with Schneider Electric for their residential wiring devices and home automation segments, he’s been with Schneider for over 23 years and has spent his entire career in the electrical industry. We asked Lorne for some insight on the smart home market, with a focus on the products and technologies offered by Schneider.

“There’s certainly been a big change within the connected homes and smart space environment,” said Lorne discussing trends in the overall market. “We’re constantly looking at what is driving consumers to invest in smart home technology. Comfort and convenience are top of mind; people want to take control over their heating, their air conditioning, lighting, and entertainment systems. Some people are driven by safety with remote door locking systems and exterior lighting systems. There’s also a big trend of older homeowners aging in place in the residential market and along with that comes at home medical equipment. Considerations such as energy usage and cost, how we become greener, and more sustainable, are all factors for consumers turning to smart home technology”

The sustainability piece leads into discussions around solar and battery storage installations, which is a key element in the evolution of home automation. Another interesting aspect Lorne touched on is aging in place, not only for managing the demand of various medical equipment that may be require but also from a safety perspective if an appliance is left on for longer than normal, for example.

Addressing consumer demand for ease of use, safety, and sustainability is at the core of Schneider’s Square D Wiring Devices which allow you to control lights, devices and monitor energy usage within their Wiser Energy mobile application. Lorne notes that not every outlet needs to be connected, depending on how often the outlet will get used and what it’s used for.

Schneider Lorne HedgesThe Square D X Series encompasses connected and traditional wiring devices, “not every device needs to be smart. If you look around your house or apartment, I’m certain you’ll find receptacles that don’t have anything connected into them all the time.”

The connected devices are available with Wi-Fi or Z-Wave communication protocols. They can be controlled through the Wiser app, as mentioned, but can also be integrated into Alexa or Google Home, which allows the same level of control.

It was important to make the installation of the products the same as standard wiring devices, “that’s the great thing about it,” Lorne said, “it’s identical when an electrician installs a smart switch or a smart receptacle. Until it’s connected it is just a switch or receptacle, and it will operate. An electrician or a builder can install these into new builds and inform the homeowner about the app and within a few minutes the homeowner can identify the devices and have their system set up and operational.”

“We’re always working our electrician partners and customers to obtain their input upfront as we work through the design. They’re involved in the process so that we’re not creating products that make it difficult for them to conduct their jobs.”

The Wiser Energy Monitoring system takes the energy monitoring one step further by applying machine learning while tracking usage at the electrical panel down to the device and plug level.

Wiser Energy monitors the entire home through the breaker panel. By collecting electrical current data millions of times per second, Wiser is able to develop a unique signature for each device in the home. It shows what is on in real time and how much energy is being consumed.

 “Pulling this all together, you see that people are looking for connectivity, ease of use, and the ability to access information about their energy usage in the palm of their hand,” noted Lorne.

A key benefit of Wiser Energy is gaining insight into an area where there isn’t much visibility, which is particularly useful for out of sight devices like a sump pump, for example, or anything that is drawing power when it shouldn’t be. Wiser Energy can also give insight into how an appliance or device is performing. It will be able to establish a baseline for how much energy your fridge or stove should consume when it’s running properly. Which acts like preventative maintenance in the home.

“Wiser Energy can be installed in anyone’s house – it doesn’t need the smart devices. However, when you bring the devices and Wiser Energy together, then you can merge the two apps and run everything through Wiser Energy,” explains Lorne. “This is where the systems really start to come together.”

When talking about home automation there are a few different levels. There’s the scheduling and control aspect of lights, devices, and heating/cooling, and the integration of various smart devices from different platforms into Alexa or Google Home to provide convenience, control, and enhance home entertainment. You can schedule ‘scenes’ that turn lights or devices on or off at certain times, get alerts when appliances/devices turn on or off, as well as get smart features out of non-smart devices.

Another aspect Lorne pointed out was whole home surge protection given the increase in electronics in the home. Even LED lighting essentially comes down to a circuit board.

Additionally, Schneider also has a Wiser Energy Approved Installer Program that provides training, product discounts, rewards for sales, an installer app, and management platform to monitor and service client Wiser systems.

The higher level of home automation comes with the integration of solar, battery storage, and EV charging, which ties into the convenience element, as well as the energy monitoring. The broader goal is to maintain the level of comfort people have come to expect while also cutting down energy usage by being more tactful about when and where energy is coming from and drawing power only when its necessary to cut back on emissions.

Sustainability is at the core of what Schneider does and the residential market presents a lot of untapped potential with respect to electrification when it comes to energy management and roof top solar.

Their Square D Energy Centre – which isn’t available in Canada yet – aims to bring all electrical infrastructure into one hub, including battery storage, backup power, and solar integration alongside a connected electrical panel. The panel monitors energy usage for each breaker using the Wiser technology and applies machine learning to determine where it draws power (whether from the grid or rooftop solar), when to store energy, when to sell energy back to the utility, as well as automating EV charging so that it only draws power at optimal times.

“Where we and our partners are headed with this is to create a system that will be programmable and automated for the individual,” said Lorne.

In the case of power outages, he explained, the Wiser Energy system can look at how much battery power is stored and prioritize the essential load, stopping the EV charger so that it can run the fridge longer, for example. 

“These are personal decisions based on how you prefer to utilize and optimize your energy.”

The Energy Centre is currently being sold in California because new builds are required to include a solar component. Lorne estimated it would be available in Canada late 2022, early 2023.

“We’re seeing increased energy costs, we’re seeing increased need to greening of energy and moving away from coal and natural gas. I do see a rise in solar installation. We’re beginning to see the advent of back-up battery storage,” explained Lorne. As these trends continue to grow there will be increased need for systems like the Energy Centre and Wiser Energy to be able to control more diverse systems at the home level.

This article origainlly appeared in Electrical Industry Canada’s Digital Handbook on Home Automation, you can find the full issue HERE

Related Articles

Latest Articles

  • Future-Proofing your Business with Electrical Estimating Software

    Future-Proofing your Business with Electrical Estimating Software

    In today’s construction landscape, it’s crucial for construction business owners to seize every opportunity to future-proof their operations. Building a thriving electrical (or mechanical) contracting company entails more than just acquiring technical skills and setting up a business. Read More…

  • Ontario Drives Monthly Downturn in Residential Sector for March 2024 Building Permits

    Ontario Drives Monthly Downturn in Residential Sector for March 2024 Building Permits

    May 16, 2024 Month over month, the total value of building permits in Canada decreased 11.7% to $10.5 billion in March. Construction intentions in the non-residential component declined 16.7% to $4.0 billion, while the residential sector decreased by 8.3% to $6.5 billion. Declines were observed in all components except for the commercial component. On a constant dollar basis (2017=100), the total… Read More…

  • 25th Edition of the MEET Show Smashes Attendance Records

    25th Edition of the MEET Show Smashes Attendance Records

    May 16, 2024 By Electro-Federation Canada The energy and excitement was palpable at the 2024 edition of the MEET Show at the Moncton Coliseum on May 1 and 2. The biennial Mechanical, Electrical, Electronic, and Technology show – celebrating its 25th year in 2024 – saw record-breaking attendance, welcoming 6,626 industry professionals to one of… Read More…

  • Video: How to Easily Setup and Program Intermatic PE700 Series Wireless Timers

    Video: How to Easily Setup and Program Intermatic PE700 Series Wireless Timers

    May 10, 2024 Dive into the future & discover the ultimate convenience in pool & spa management with this “How to” video guide for setting up & programming the PE700 Series Pool & Spa Wireless Smart Timer, by Intermatic. Whether you are programming the 3-circuit model PE733P or the 2-circuit PE723P, this video is your… Read More…

Changing Scene

  • ECS Re-Certified as Best Managed Platinum Status for 7th Straight Year

    ECS Re-Certified as Best Managed Platinum Status for 7th Straight Year

    May 22, 2024 Electrical Cable Supply (ECS), Canada’s leading, independently owned electrical wire and cable solutions provider, proudly announces its re-certification as a Platinum Club member in Canada’s Best Managed Companies for the seventh consecutive year. This prestigious designation, awarded by Deloitte, recognizes Canadian-owned and managed companies for innovative management, business performance, and sustained growth…. Read More…

  • WOW Lighting and Controls adds Blink Charging to Line Card

    WOW Lighting and Controls adds Blink Charging to Line Card

    May 17, 2024 WOW Lighting and Controls are excited to introduce the newest addition to the Wow Lighting and Controls linecard: Blink Charging Co. Blink Charging Co. (Nasdaq: BLNK) is a global leader in electric vehicle (EV) charging equipment and services, enabling drivers, hosts, and fleets to easily transition to electric transportation through innovative charging solutions. Blink’s… Read More…

  • Join ECABC’s Call for Prompt Payment in BC

    Join ECABC’s Call for Prompt Payment in BC

    May 17, 2024 On Monday, May 6th, ECABC launched a campaign across its social media platforms to create awareness for the need for prompt payment laws in British Columbia, now. Year after year, BC’s lack of prompt payment has been the #1 issue for ECABC’s contractors. Why? Because prompt payment ensures that contractors and subcontractors receive… Read More…

  • ABB Invests in Ndustrial to Accelerate Decarbonization Through AI-Powered Energy Management Technologies

    ABB Invests in Ndustrial to Accelerate Decarbonization Through AI-Powered Energy Management Technologies

    May 17, 2024 ABB today announced a minority investment in Ndustrial, a US-based clean technology startup that has developed a leading-edge, AI-powered energy management platform. This innovative technology enables smarter, production-aware energy decisions in real time, helping customers reduce operating costs, optimize energy consumption and accelerate decarbonization. The investment was made through ABB Ventures. Financial… Read More…