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Energy-saving retrofits made easy for SMEs

Schneider Electric launches SmartStruxure Lite in Singapore, an integrated software and hardware solution that enables small- and medium-sized businesses to increase the energy efficiency of their buildings while reducing operating costs

Energy management giant Schneider Electric on Friday launched a new solution in Singapore featuring solar-powered motion sensors and energy-harvesting light switches for small- and medium-sized businesses that will make retrofitting their units with energy-saving solutions much easier.

Called SmartStruxure Lite, the building energy management solution (BEMS) is a combination of software and hardware technologies together with engineering, installation and other services.

It uses a web-based control system that provides one-click access to remote monitoring of lighting and power functions in a building, as well as management of multiple spaces.

Jeffrey Yap, Schneider Electric vice president of buildings business, told Eco-Business on the sidelines of the firm’s Xperience Efficiency Event at the Singapore Expo: “Building management solutions often cost hundreds of thousands so we are offering a low-cost solution that is easy to implement.”

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that have limited budget for facilities or building maintenance now have an option with this BEMS. SmartStruxure Lite costs about US$2,000 to fit out a standard-sized convenience store, Yap explained. For a larger store of 10,000 square metres, it would cost US$15,000 to US$20,000, depending on store factors.

Until now, most small-and-medium commercial buildings do not have an affordable option to implement an energy management system of any scale, despite this segment being one of the heaviest energy users per square foot and square meter vis-à-vis other commercial buildings

Ang Koon San, Schneider Electric Singapore & Brunei country president

The full energy management system covers HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), lighting, power applications, room and zone control, air volume control, and metering and sub-metering functions.

“Until now, most small-and-medium commercial buildings do not have an affordable option to implement an energy management system of any scale, despite this segment being one of the heaviest energy users per square foot and square meter vis-à-vis other commercial buildings,” said Ang Koon San, country president for Schneider Electric Singapore and Brunei.

With SmartStruxure Lite’s wireless sensors, for example, a building’s room temperature is automatically adjusted based on the number of occupants in a room, which leads to seven per cent energy savings for every degree the temperature is raised.

Its light switches also do not need to be fitted with batteries or hard wired to a room’s power cables. Switching on the light switch itself generates enough energy for the light to send a signal to a control box for it to be turned on.

In addition, Schneider Electric explained that the BEMS is scalable, so it can be tailored to the size of the business as it expands, making it future-proof. Building energy expenditure is decreased by about 30 per cent as a result. The SmartStruxure also helps a company meet the requirements of Singapore’s green building certification scheme – the Building and Construction Authority’s Green Mark.

Currently, there are buildings in Singapore already using SmartStruxure Lite. Their energy usage is stored in a cloud service, so the information is available in real time for easy assessment and analsyis.  

Aside from small and medium offices, the building energy management solution can also be applied in retrofitting retail shops, hotels, heritage buildings, schools and other such buildings. SmartStruxure Lite uses wireless technology, eliminating the need to rewire any existing power controls or functions. This is helpful for SMEs since they cannot compromise valuable time for fittings and installation.

Once it is in place, they will eventually earn their savings. Schneider Electric said that the SmartStruxure Lite has a quick return on investment (ROI), of which succeeding earnings can be channelled into increasing a company’s competitive advantage like improving R&D and marketing.

Yap noted that selling such solutions typically require a year or two, but within five months of rolling it out in Japan, the firm won a contract to supply SmartStruxure Lite to 1,000 convenience stores.

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