Standard to Improve Power Transmission

The EMerge Alliance was established to encourage rapid adoption of safe, low-voltage DC power distribution and its use within commercial buildings' interior infrastructure. According to Buildings, the adoption of the EMerge Standard is expected to result in higher efficiency, lower energy consumption and enhanced sustainability without sacrificing performance or quality.

Steelcase's Joel Zwier said the EMerge Standard concept can be compared to that of a hybrid car, stating, "A hybrid automobile switches from gasoline power to electrical power to maximize fuel efficiency. Building electrical power can be thought of similarly, with EMerge promoting a new hybrid layer of AC/DC power distribution."

Bruce D. Graham of Johnson Controls said EMerge interior building systems can lower costs and offer easy maintenance and configuration. He added that the standard will enable direct connection to locally generated alternative energy sources, supplying power without transformation.

"For example, a standard office building with solar panels on the roof has to traditionally transform the power into standard voltage and incorporate it into the existing distribution grid," he said. "With a low-voltage power distribution, you can isolate the solar power and operate equipment on a separate grid. When energy consumption is low, you can have a battery backup system that then recharges during the day."

With the EMerge Standard, overhead and task lighting can be increased or decreased by rearranging fixtures according to needs. In addition, the conversion to DC power can be facilitated on a space-by-space basis rather than reconfiguring the whole building at once. Finally, procurement costs can be saved because equipment can be reused.

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