Navigant Research’s report entitled ‘DC Power for Commercial Buildings’ claims the use of direct current (DC) power in buildings is expanding, driven by the growing reliance on renewable energy sources, increased demand for advanced energy storage devices, and increased demand for energy efficiency within commercial buildings. Deployed at the level of a single building or microgrid, DC power distribution can reduce the number of required conversions between alternating current (AC) and DC power to boost overall building energy efficiency.
“The advantages of DC power systems become particularly clear when considering the integration of renewable energy generation,” explained Eric Woods, research director with Navigant Research. “Solar photovoltaic and wind power systems are both natively DC. Inserting a DC distribution system eliminates the need for AC/DC conversion points when the power reaches the building’s distribution system, and when it is delivered to the devices, thus avoiding the losses associated with the conversions.”
The adoption of Internet protocol (IP) phone systems is also expanding the use of DC in buildings. The power over Ethernet (PoE) technology used for IP telephony can also support devices for security, point of access, and wireless networking, according to the report. Major PoE providers are moving to implement the technology for lighting, monitors, televisions, and other electronic devices. At the same time, bolstered by the standardization efforts of industry groups and growing success at data centers, non-PoE DC technologies are entering into a period of more rapid commercialization and development.
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