As we see an end to fossil fuels being used in buildings for heating systems, the high importance put on the environmental impact of builds and the electrification of transport clients and end users are more reliant on electrical infrastructure. Contractors who can offer differentiated propositions with strong qualified solutions can appeal to these evolving needs.

When considering the requirements of switchgear design factors like the ability to adapt to an evolving building, systems need to provide high stacking density with smart combinations of fixed removable and withdrawable configurations for power distribution and motor control applications.

The ability for expansion in the future; maximum uptime being more critical; and safety being paramount, have all moved centre stage. Manufacturers like Eaton now provide systems to continuously monitor switchgear temperature to reduce the risk of failure and Arc-fault protections systems to ensure the safety of personnel and equipment.

While these buildings are evolving, the low voltage switch gear needs to support these growing needs – so scalable solutions are a must.

Smart buildings need smarter circuit protection

The cost of gas and electricity in the past few years has become more volatile and while it presents a significant challenge to all building owners and operators, it has also opened the door to more opportunities.

We see the huge growth in renewables for self-consumption and the need for buildings to become more and more energy efficient. 

ISO50001 specifies the requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving an energy management system, whose purpose is to enable an organisation to follow a systematic approach in achieving continual improvement of energy performance, including energy efficiency, energy security, energy use and consumption.

How can circuit protection help? What used to be a bi-metal strip for thermal element and solenoid that monitors current magnitude in an MCCB has evolved.

Manufacturers have introduced microprocessor modules into these MCCBs, providing a huge number of additional features and making these devices more like the brain of the power distribution network. 

With many like the Digital NZM, these smart MCCBs, having built-in energy monitoring, enable visibility of energy consumption for all parts of a system.

Communication modules to feed this data and more to building management systems (BMS) or building energy management systems (BEMS) aids in the control and management of power. These features offer building owners the ability to make better energy usage decisions to drive efficiency.

They can do much more and many have predictive maintenance algorithms to reduce the risk of downtime from black-outs, notifying relevant personnel when devices are coming to their end of life. These MCCBs enable the bidirectional protection required for systems with renewables and ranges include vDC protection. They can also limit fault stress on the system like cable damage and overheating going beyond normal time/current selectivity.

The true value of any system should be that it meets the needs and overcomes the challenges of the customer today and in the future. As we see the need for greener, cleaner, more intelligent and flexible solutions to power the buildings of tomorrow, its power infrastructure needs to be at its core to enable this to happen.

To find out more about our smarter circuit protection and switchgear solutions head to

Or contact Trystan Bevan for more information.