POWER DISTRIBUTION DESIGN SERVICES DELIVERED IN THE HOUSTON AREA
As an electrical contractor and electrical engineering firm operating in Houston, TX we offer clients in the manufacturing, warehousing, and building industries power distribution design services. We follow a process that we will outline here. Not all steps are always necessary, and we may expand this process or decrease it, depending on the situation and the type of facility, but here is the general idea.
Power Distribution Design: Site Survey
At the outset of a new project, we first conduct a site survey to gather important information about our client's facility, including the electrical load requirements, the available voltage levels, and any unique electrical needs or constraints.
Conducting a site survey is a critical first step. This is an overview of how a site survey is conducted:
Initial consultation: The site survey process begins with an initial consultation to understand our client’s needs and goals for the electrical system. We identify any unique electrical needs or constraints that impact the design.
Site visit: Next, a physical site visit gives us the possibility to gather important information about the facility: layout, location of electrical equipment, and available voltage levels. We also assess any potential safety hazards or environmental factors that may impact the design.
Load analysis: A load analysis determines the electrical load requirements of the facility, including peak demand and any specialized electrical equipment requirements.
Voltage analysis: A voltage analysis identifies the available voltage levels at the facility, which helps us to determine the appropriate equipment and design specifications.
Safety and code compliance: We assess the compliance of our client’s facility with relevant safety and electrical codes, such as the National Electrical Code (NEC), and identify any necessary modifications or upgrades.
Documentation: We document all of our findings and analysis from the site survey, which serves as the foundation for the preliminary design.
Power Distribution Design: Review of Existing Electrical Systems
We also review any existing electrical systems to ensure compatibility and identify any necessary upgrades or modifications.
Our goal is to identify any potential issues impacting the design of the new system, as well as any opportunities to optimize the existing system.
Overview of the review process:
Identification of the existing electrical systems: We start by identifying all existing electrical systems that will impact the new power distribution system, such as the main switchgear, distribution panels, transformers, and any backup power systems.
Electrical survey: We conduct an electrical survey of the existing systems to identify any potential issues, such as overloading or outdated equipment, that may impact the design of the new system.
Review of electrical documentation: We review any available documentation for the existing electrical systems, such as electrical drawings, specifications, and equipment manuals. This helps us to gain a comprehensive understanding of the existing system and identify any potential compatibility issues.
Analysis of electrical performance: We analyze the electrical performance of the existing system, using tools such as power quality meters and thermal imaging cameras, to identify any potential issues with voltage regulation, harmonics, or equipment performance.
Identification of necessary upgrades: Based on our findings from the survey, documentation review, and performance analysis, we identify any necessary upgrades or modifications to the existing system to ensure compatibility with the new power distribution system. This can include replacing outdated equipment, increasing capacity, or improving power quality.
Power Distribution Design: Preliminary Design
Our preliminary design outlines the optimal distribution of electrical power throughout the facility. This involves selecting appropriate equipment (switchgear, transformers, circuit breakers, etc.) to ensure reliable and efficient power delivery.
We also take into account any power quality considerations, such as harmonics and voltage regulation, to ensure the electrical system meets the client's requirements.
During the preliminary design phase, we create a conceptual design for the new electrical system that takes into account the client's needs, the site survey data, and any existing electrical systems.
Overview of the preliminary design phase:
Load calculations: Using the data collected during the site survey, we conduct load calculations to determine the total electrical load requirements of the facility. This includes peak demand, motor starting requirements, and any specialized equipment requirements.
Equipment selection: Based on the load calculations, we select the appropriate electrical equipment to meet the electrical load requirements of the facility. This may include switchgear, transformers, circuit breakers, and distribution panels.
System layout: Using the selected equipment, we develop a preliminary system layout that outlines the optimal distribution of electrical power throughout the facility. This includes determining the location of electrical equipment, cable routing, and voltage levels for each area of our client facility.
Electrical calculations: We perform detailed electrical calculations to ensure that the proposed electrical system meets all relevant safety and electrical codes, including the National Electrical Code (NEC).
Power quality analysis: We conduct a power quality analysis to ensure that the proposed electrical system meets our client's power quality requirements, including harmonic distortion and voltage regulation.
Review and refinement: We review the preliminary design with our client and make any necessary adjustments based on their feedback and budgetary constraints. This may involve selecting different equipment, adjusting load requirements, or revising the design to account for any unique challenges or constraints.
Examples of questions clients can ask during this process:
Can we reduce the electrical load requirements of certain areas of the facility?
Our clients based in Houston and other cities in Texas aim at reducing the electrical load requirements of certain areas of their facility to save on energy costs. This usually involves adjusting the lighting levels, optimizing HVAC systems, or implementing energy-efficient equipment.
Can we use different types of electrical equipment?
Clients may want to use different types of electrical equipment based on budget or specific needs. For example, more efficient transformers or switchgear that can handle higher voltage levels.
How can we ensure power quality meets our needs?
Clients may have specific power quality requirements, such as limiting harmonic distortion or ensuring voltage regulation. We may need to revise the design to incorporate additional power quality measures (harmonic filters, voltage regulators) that come into play later.
Can we integrate renewable energy sources into the electrical system?
Clients may want to incorporate renewable energy sources (solar, wind power) into the electrical system to reduce reliance on traditional energy sources. We may need to adjust the design to incorporate renewable energy sources and ensure that the system can handle intermittent power generation.
How can we ensure safety and code compliance?
Clients in Houston have specific safety and code compliance requirements to meet. We may need to revise the design to incorporate additional safety measures, such as fire protection systems or arc flash mitigation systems, to ensure that the system meets all relevant safety and electrical codes.
Power Distribution System Design: Detailed Drawings and Specifications
After finalizing the design, we create detailed drawings and specifications that guide the installation and commissioning of the electrical system. These drawings include the layout of all electrical equipment, cable routing, and any necessary electrical calculations or analysis.
We also provide equipment specifications, such as product data sheets and installation instructions, to ensure that the equipment is installed properly and operates as intended.
Examples of the types of drawings and specifications that we typically provide:
Electrical one-line diagrams: One-line diagrams show the layout of all electrical equipment, including switchgear, transformers, and distribution panels. They also show cable routing and connections, and include any necessary electrical calculations or analysis. One-line diagrams ensure the electrical system is installed correctly and all equipment is connected properly.
Cable schedules: Cable schedules provide detailed information about the type and size of cables required for each part of the electrical system. They specify cable lengths, cable types, and any necessary cable terminations. This information ensures that the correct cables are installed in the correct locations.
Equipment specifications: We provide detailed equipment specifications, including product data sheets and installation instructions, for all electrical equipment used in the system. This ensures that contractors understand the correct installation procedures for each piece of equipment and that the equipment is installed correctly.
Panel schedules: Panel schedules show the layout and connection details for each distribution panel used in the electrical system. They specify the type and size of breakers required for each panel, as well as any necessary wiring and termination details.
Lighting plans: Lighting plans show the layout of all lighting fixtures and their associated wiring. They provide details about the type and size of lighting fixtures, as well as any necessary lighting control systems.
Power Distribution Design: Final Steps
Throughout the installation process, we work closely with the client and their contractors to ensure that the electrical system is installed correctly and meets all necessary safety and code requirements. We also conduct testing and commissioning of the electrical system to ensure that it is fully operational and reliable.
Testing and commissioning are critical steps in our power distribution design process. These steps ensure that the electrical system is fully operational, reliable, and meets all relevant safety and electrical codes. Here's an overview of how we approach testing and commissioning:
Pre-commissioning checks: Before commissioning the electrical system, we conduct pre-commissioning checks to ensure that all equipment is installed properly, all cable connections are secure, and all electrical systems are energized correctly.
Functional testing: We perform functional testing on all electrical equipment to ensure that it operates correctly and that all protection and control functions are working as intended. This includes testing of circuit breakers, relays, transformers, and other equipment.
Performance testing: We conduct performance testing to ensure that the electrical system meets all performance requirements, such as voltage regulation and harmonic distortion levels. We use specialized testing equipment, such as power quality meters, to perform these tests.
Load testing: We conduct load testing to ensure that the electrical system can handle the expected electrical loads under normal operating conditions, as well as under emergency or backup power scenarios.
Integration testing: If there are any interconnected electrical systems or subsystems, we perform integration testing to ensure that they are operating together correctly and meeting all performance and safety requirements.
Final documentation: Once testing is complete, we provide the client with a final documentation package that includes all test reports, as well as any necessary equipment manuals, wiring diagrams, and operating instructions.