Panasonic and Schneider Electric have partnered to provide wireless communication between building management and room controller systems. Announced in October 2016, the agreement outlines how the two companies have developed a new interface that allows building owners and managers to view all their core building systems — including HVAC equipment, lighting, security, power, and electrical distribution — wirelessly. With just one interface, the system has the potential to deliver real-time data to reduce energy consumption and drive savings.
“Creating interoperability between major energy consuming systems such as HVAC equipment with building control systems allows facility managers to simplify their operations, better optimize the efficiency of their buildings, and reduce energy costs,” said Laurent Bataille, executive vice president of the Schneider’s EcoBuilding Division. Schneider Electric’s SmartStruxure solution and intelligent room controller bring HVAC control and energy efficiency to commercial buildings. Together, they reduce operating costs across the entire lifecycle of a facility. They integrate customized hardware, software, engineering, installation, and services to ensure facilities are energy efficient and effectively managed.
A key component of the system is Panasonic’s variable refrigerant flow HVAC system. It uses the ZigBee wireless communication standard that dramatically increases energy efficiency by delivering the highest European seasonal energy efficiency rating in all outdoor capacities. It also provides high efficiency for part-load operations that accurately match the environment in which it is being used. VRF-based HVAC systems have gained in popularity recently due to their capacity to operate at variable speeds by inverter technology. This eliminates the traditional on/off operation and leads to consistent energy savings.
Toshiyuki Takagi, executive officer of Panasonic corporation and president of Panasonic air conditioner, acknowledged the heavy investment that Panasonic has made in its commercial air conditioning and support services. Those expenditures have allowed Panasonic “to fully address our customers’ needs,” he said, noting that the partnership with Schneider Electric delivers “additional benefits in building energy management.”
Takagi continued, “By combining the power of building management with cutting-edge VRF technology, we are able to help our customers further reduce capital and operating expenditures and reach new levels of sustainability.” The system is highly reliable with strong cooling and heating power, even when operating at extreme ambient temperatures ranging from -25°C up to 52°C.
In order to preserve existing infrastructures, which is essential as older structures are renovated, the system can be installed either wirelessly or as hardwired components. In either case, the system incorporates plug-and-play technology and supports system configurations for extensive VRF systems.
The announcement is the second time in as many weeks that Panasonic has entered into an innovative partnership. An agreement with Tesla on solar production and storage batteries may usher in the day when reliance on power grids is less pronounced. The Tesla/Panasonic agreement will make the Japanese company one of the largest manufacturers of solar panels in the world.