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EnergyTech 2012
Adopting DC Power
Emmett Romine
Manager, Energy Optimization
Why is DTE Energy interested in DC options?
• Key participation in Emerge Alliance is focused on opportunities for energy efficiency in
alternative building power configurations
• Options for building controls and continuous commissioning – combining energy savings
with other benefits makes cost effectiveness for the customer
• Longer term benefits of Solar integration with building systems
DTE is exploring as a demonstration
through the Armstrong DC Flexzone Grid product
EMerge Alliance System
24VDC – Class 2 Wiring – Energized Ceiling
DC FlexZone Grid - Infrastructure
Safe, Low Voltage DC
• The Grid is wired up but not
every device
• The Main Beams carry
safe, low voltage DC power
to a series of Electrical
Loads such as light fixtures
making power available
throughout the Ceiling
• Unlike the traditional way,
conduit wiring must carry
High Voltage AC to each
and every device through
hard wiring
Higher Voltage AC
DC FlexZone Grid – Plug and Play
Enabling Plug &
Play for Devices
Electrical devices
like light fixtures
just plug into the
grid, rather than
using high voltage
AC conduit.
It’s safe NEC Class
2 power, anyone
can do it. It makes it
easier for
maintenance to do
moves, adds, and
Just plug in!
DC FlexZone Grid – Power Distribution
• Nextek’s Power Server Module provides safe low
voltage DC to the ceiling grid
• TE Connectivity provides Connectors and
Cablings to the EMerge Ceiling system
DC FlexZone Grid – Benefits
• Flexibility
– Faster moves, adds, changes
– No rewiring
– Future-proof for new technologies
like LEDs
• Sustainability
– Reduce -- Simpler devices, less ACDC conversions
– Re-use -- Plug & play modularity
– Recycle – High recycled content
ceiling grid
– Renew – Connect to alternative
energy (like solar & wind)
• Safety
– Touch safe 24vDC
– No need to run line AC voltages to
fixtures and devices
Codes and standards impacts on DC
• NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) sets the tone for codes
–They are the backbone of the electric code generation with highly acceptable
standards and codes that are used universally.
–NFPA works closely with ANSI and Professional Engineers in development of new
• Seek a Specialty License for low voltage.
–Currently all wiring in MI is governed by our licensing law whether it's AC or DC. A
specialty license can single out a segment of this work for specialized training and
–Some states (not MI) already have a low voltage specialty license.
• Work closely with industry to build a business case.
Perspectives on SunShot PV initiative
• Currently large projects are at about $3.00/watt all in
• Panel prices have now dropped below $1.00, but balance of system (BOS) is at $1.001.50
• Achieving $1.00 (all in) or lower may be difficult to achieve in the short term
• If classical learning curves apply (i.e. Moore’s Law, Haitz’s Law), the timing may be
realized by the end of the decade
Emmett Romine
Manger, Energy Optimization