Design Build: Better Estimates for Electrical Costs

By James Khalil, P.E. | May 28, 2020 11:00:00 AM

 Fig 1: 1 Line Diagram: PowerCalc with Feeder Table 

At PowerCalc, everything is focused on the electrical circuit. Our patented software starts at the circuit adding loads to reach the service entrance for exacting accuracy in our calculations and incredibly fast design of the power distribution system (PDS) inside a single or multiple facilities. The PowerCalc system mirrors the National Electrical Code's (NEC's) "bottom-up" framework and automates all the calculations required for compliance with the NEC.

But, in speaking with a user recently, the power of PowerCalc's 7.5 million equations took on a new use.  What if PowerCalc's automatic calculations are  used to estimate the size and characteristics of the electrical equipment and labor costs for the PDS in bidding Design Build projects. 

In today's construction industry, a preferred method for construction is Design Build. The Design Build process combines the design of the structure with the construction cost in one price submitted to the owner. In order to bid, the Design Build contractor needs to determine what equipment is necessary and its costs prior to the PDS even being designed.

In a Design Build construction project, as opposed to a conventional method of design / bid / construction, the contractor is locked into its bid. Currently, the bid for a Design Build construction project is based on estimates often relying  on "rule of thumb" electrical design. The reality is that the actual quantity and price of the electrical equipment for the power distribution system is likely not known at the time of bid

For sure, PowerCalc can help the Design Build contractor to accurately estimate the cost of providing the electrical equipment and labor for the project.  The reason for using PowerCalc for such an estimate is that only PowerCalc can provide the  details like sizes and quantities for the necessary equipment such as Main Distribution Panel, Distribution Panels, Lighting / Power Panels, Motor Control Centers (MCCs), Automatic Transfer Switches (ATSs), UPS Transformers,and Generators.

PowerCalc does not stop there, but also sizes and quantifies this equipment and associated conductors (with neutral and ground), conduits, overcurrent protection devices, panel frame / main, phase, equipment AIC ratings, and voltage drop. In short, estimates based on PowerCalc's calculations allow the design bid quote to be much closer to actual cost. 

 

Fig 2: Settings on Panel WIZARD

So, let's step through the process of  how to use PowerCalc to put together an electrical  cost estimate for a Design Build project.  At the Panel WIZARD,  override the "Auto" pre-set functions and instead input estimates such as the panelboard "Main" size.  With this single input, the results estimate specifications for feeder, conduit, ground, overcurrent protection devices, voltage drop, equipment AIC ratings, and fault current calculations. See Fig 2: Settings on Panel WIZARD

With this information, PowerCalc generates a basic layout of the PDS with its automatically and simultaneously generated 1 Line Diagram.  See Fig 1: One Line Diagram  Included with the 1 Line Diagram is the Feeder Table indicating the number and size of feeders conductors.  See Fig. 1: 1 Line Diagram with Feeder Table and  Fig 3: Feeder Table from 1 Line Diagram

 

 Fig. 3  Feeder Table from 1 Line Diagram

Also useful for a Design Build estimate, is that any change is easy. Change an input anywhere...and  all values on the PDS and 1 Line Diagram are instantaneously updated across the entire PDS both upstream and downstream.

This is  a wealth of information for estimators to use for Design Build projects. While still estimates, the quantity and sizing of necessary equipment is much closer to the "actual" and final numbers than is available by other means. 

Hope this information helps Design Builders and Electrical Contractors to increase their profits!

 

 

And remember, we have a free demonstration on the first Friday of each month: FREE Demo, Friday June 5th at 12 EST Hope you will join us!

Thank you for your support!  Stay well.

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Renovation: How to Update for Existing Conditions

By James Khalil, P.E. | May 7, 2020 11:00:00 AM

1 Line Diagram: Existing Conditions from Record Documents

Designing for renovation is easy...let's go through the steps.

PowerCalc user with an engineering consulting firm recently sent us this 1 Line Diagram documenting existing conditions at a meeting facility in Alabama. His  question: how to modify just 6 of the 9 existing circuits in a power panel (PP). 

Above is the 1 Line Diagram of existing conditions provided by the user. For purposes of this article, we input these values into PowerCalc and 1st, creating the model of the 1 Line Diagram for existing conditions.  See below:

1 Line Diagram: Existing Conditions as modeled in PowerCalc 

The 3 unchanged circuits were to remain in their AsBulit state. As an example, CKT PP-3 currently feeding a 2 HP AC-A4 (Air Conditioning # 4A), 20 A-3P OCPD, 3#12 AWG. 1#12 GND, in 3/4" conduit. 

The way to design a renovation with PowerCalc:

1. Recognizing that not all renovations are a total demolition, this response distinguishes between existing loads that remain As Is in the final project and those loads that will be modified to accommodate the new design.  

2. First, create a Project file:  Project Name_Existing.  The use of the "Existing" label organizes your design files. Then, input all existing conditions in the project's panels.

For equipment, remember to use a separate Building Equipment (BE) calculation / worksheet for each piece of equipment such as a pump, an HVAC unit, or an elevator. The practice of a separate BE worksheet for each piece of equipment makes it easy to update circuits quickly throughout the design process.

3.  Once all existing conditions have been input, then go to the Related Projects button. Find Project Name _Existing, then under Actionsclick on Save As to create a second file.  Save this new file as  Project Name _Modified

4. Keep both files.  You now have 1 file documenting existing conditions and a new second file that reflects your modified design.

Go to each circuit in the Project Name_Modified and update the design by changing each individual branch circuit.

1 Line Diagram: Modified for Renovation by PowerCalc 

5. The second part of the user's question on renovation was:  how to override PowerCalc's default values. To override, go to Building Equipment worksheet AC-4A, and in the footer find the FEEDER region. In this region are 5 cells titled AUTO.

These cells can be changed from the automatically calculated NEC values, to the size you determine as an electrical professional to use for your project. Also in the FEEDER region, the user can enter the actual conductor length. Then, PowerCalc will also automatically calculate the Voltage Drop (VD) and Short Circuit Current (S2C). 

6. Then, repeat this process in the Enclosed Circuit Breaker and the DISCONNECT regions to override PowerCalc's automatic NEC calculated values so that the values reflect existing conditions.

Designing renovation projects with PowerCalc, is as easy as new construction.     

And remember, we have a free demonstration on the first Friday of each month: FREE Demo, Friday May 1st at 12 EST Hope you will join us!

Thank you for your support!  Stay well.

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Commit to Green: Optimize Electrical Energy Use & Meet PowerCalc Team

By James Khalil, P.E. | Apr 2, 2020 11:00:00 AM

At PowerCalc, we are committed to optimizing electrical energy use before a building is even built.

In our video, we discuss our energy savings module (ERASE(tm)). Its approach is unique: it focuses on the conductor / wires that transmit electricity...the single largest link between the generation and end-use consumption of electricity. It saves 7%+ of energy use by optimizing the design of the power distribution system inside the facility.

We also introduce the PowerCalc team, our company, our software, and our goals.

So take a look.

Unlike other electrical design software, PowerCalc's patented process designs from the bottom-up, i.e. from the circuit to the service entrance / power grid. For the first time, the ability to calculate and specify the exacting detail of conductor sizes is easily possible due to PowerCalc's automation of the electrical design process.

Designing with PowerCalc, including ERASE, can save at least 7% in energy use and likely a lot more.  Extreme Savings in Data Centers  Energy Savings Module  Commit to Green #1  Commit to Green #2    Commit to Green #3  

Listed on US DOE's Building Energy Software Tools Directory

PowerCalc is listed on the US Department of Energy's Building Energy Software Tools Directory. 

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And remember, we have a free demonstration  on the first Friday of each month:  FREE Demonstration Friday, April 3rd at 12 EST Hope you will join us!

Thank you for your support!

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Voltage Drop in Data Centers: Re-think for Extreme Savings in Energy & Equipment

By James Khalil, P.E. | Mar 19, 2020 11:00:00 AM

Traditional and current electrical design practices for Voltage Drop overlook best practices relevant for digital age facilities such as data centers, robotic manufacturing complexes, and more. It is time to re-think  current practice to capture extreme savings in both energy use (at least 7%) and electrical equipment (over-specification of equipment -- too much expensive copper).

The approach for this new age: optimize the utilization of the circuit's capacity to deliver the maximum amount of energy and reduce energy wasted through heat dissipation without  adding more circuits and conductors. 

What is Voltage Drop?

"Voltage Drop is the decrease of electric potential [Volt] along the path of a current [Ampere] flowing in an electrical circuit. Voltage drops in the internal resistance of the source, across conductors, across contacts, and across connectors are undesirable because some of the energy supplied is dissipated." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voltage_drop

In a power distribution system that supplies power to branch circuits for lighting and appliances, the National Electrical Code (NEC) provides guidance in an Informational Note that the maximum voltage drop of 3% for branch circuit conductors, and 5% for feeder and branch circuit conductors together, provides a "reasonable efficiency of operation for general use circuits."

This guidance fails to address the increasing complexity of digital age facilities.

Traditional and Current Electrical Design Practice

Traditional and current electrical design methods to minimize Voltage Drop are:

1.  Increasing the number or size of conductors,

2. Reducing the load current on the circuit,

3. Decreasing conductor length, and

4. Decreasing conductor temperature.

Copper Development Assn.

Increasing the number or size of conductors

Traditional and Current  Electrical Design Practice: By specifying parallel or oversized conductors, resistance per unit length is lowered below the NEC's requirements.This method decreases the Voltage Drop and increases energy efficiency while exceeding the NEC's minimum  requirements for conductor sizes.

This practice for power distribution system design in data centers generally increases conductor sizes for phase, neutral, and ground conductors. Then, it goes even further adding an additional  "parallel conductor" at the branch circuit  to reduce the load by splitting it up.

Ongoing Issue: So using traditional and current electrical design practices, an additional conductor is added to the electrical design significantly increasing the cost of the equipment (expensive copper) in the facility. While the Voltage Drop is reduced, equipment costs are unnecessarily increased.

Reducing the load current on the circuit

Traditional and Current  Electrical Design Practice: Current practice also deals with the Voltage Drop in digital age buildings by limiting the amount of equipment connected to a single circuit. This limits the load current on the circuit and also reduces the Voltage Drop.

Ongoing Issue: This limitation results in additional circuits being required...again, resulting in a significant increase in the cost of equipment (expensive copper) in the facility. While the Voltage Drop is reduced, equipment costs are unnecessarily increased.

Decrease Conductor Length

Traditional and Current  Electrical Design Practice: Decreasing the conductor length, moves the source of electric energy closer to the load resulting in a reduction in resistance and the Voltage Drop. It requires the placement of expensive panel boards closer to the load.

Ongoing Issue: Again, this solution results in additional panel boards, feeders, and conductors at a significant increase in the cost of equipment (expensive copper) in the facility. While the Voltage Drop is reduced, equipment costs are unnecessarily increased.

Adjust Conductor Temperature

Traditional and Current Electrical Design Practice: Adjusting the temperature decreases the ampacity of the conductor requiring additional circuits.

Ongoing Issue: This limitation also results in additional circuits being required at a significant increase in the cost of equipment (expensive copper) in the facility. While the Voltage Drop is reduced, equipment costs are unnecessarily increased. Also, the more circuits in the system, the higher the energy costs as more electric energy is dissipated. 

What's the problem?

With the world's increasing use and dependence on data, continuously expanding with streaming video, internet connected devices, and artificial intelligence, the demand for electric energy is expected to double every four years. And the expense of powering a data center is likewise out of control. According to Wikipedia, "the cost of power for the data center is expected to exceed the cost of the original capital investment." Wikipedia Data Center

Efforts to reduce energy consumption at data centers have been heroic - from improving server power draw to reducing energy use in storage, network, and infrastructure. But this "low hanging fruit" has not been enough to satisfy the insatiable need of data centers for electric energy.

More needs to be done to control Voltage Drop in these digital age facilities as extreme savings are easily possible for both energy use and equipment costs.  It is time to "re-think" traditional and current electrical design practices.

A new approach: actual reduction of the number of conductors and circuits

Like traditional and current electrical design practice, PowerCalc increases conductor sizes to reduce heat generation due to friction during the transmission / distribution of electricity inside the facility. It meets the minimum requirements of the NEC, but meeting the NEC's minimum requirements does not mean that a design minimizes electric energy losses and maximizes  electric energy savings.

PowerCalc  meets the initial threshold of the NEC's design requirements by increasing conductor sizes just like in traditional and current electrical design practice. But then, PowerCalc goes a step further: it also decreases the actual number of conductors and circuits. This reduction is accomplished by bundling more loads on these larger conductors. 

Traditional and current electrical design practice increases conductor sizes without adding more electrical loads to these conductors. In contrast, PowerCalc uses the larger conductor size to maximize the load for said conductor by bundling. This "new" approach makes additional conductors and circuits unnecessary for reductions in  electric equipment (expensive CU) and electric energy costs for extreme  savings.

How does PowerCalc design to reduce the number of conductors and circuits?

PowerCalc's energy savings module  (ERASE(tm)) focuses on saving energy and optimizing the design of the power distribution system before  a facility is even built or renovated by focusing on how electricity is transmitted / distributed inside the facility.  

ERASE's approach is unique: it focuses on the conductor / wires that transmit electricity...the single largest link between the generation and end-use consumption of electricity. It saves 7%+ of energy use by optimizing the design of the power distribution system inside the facility. 

And for the data center, ERASE eliminates the need to add unnecessary conductors or circuits to reduce the Voltage Drop. This re-thinking results in extreme savings in both electric energy use and equipment costs.

Unlike other electrical design software, PowerCalc's patented process designs from the bottom-up, i.e. from the circuit to the service entrance / power grid. For the first time, the ability to calculate and specify the exacting detail of conductor sizes is easily possible due to PowerCalc's automation of the traditional and current electrical design practice.

Designing with PowerCalc, including ERASE, can save at least 7% in energy use and likely a lot more. Energy Savings Module  Commit to Green #1  Commit to Green #2    Commit to Green #3    

Listed on US DOE's Building Energy Software Tools Directory

PowerCalc is listed on the US Department of Energy's Building Energy Software Tools Directory. 

And remember, we have a free demonstration  on the first Friday of each month:  FREE Demonstration Friday, April 3rd at 12 EST Hope you will join us!

Thank you for your support!

Read More >

ElectricianLIVE

By James Khalil, P.E. | Mar 5, 2020 11:00:00 AM

Recently, James Khalil, PE inventor of PowerCalc reached out to 300,000 listeners on ElectricianLIVE.  

Paul Abernathy runs the podcast and is a recognized expert and educator on the National Electrical Code (NEC). You can replay / listen now  at  ElectricianLIVE or Master the NEC.

On the podcast, James answers the following questions:

          What is PowerCalc?

          How does PowerCalc comply with the NEC?

          Tell me about how you put together PowerCalc's data base?

          Tell me about PowerCalc's 1 Line Diagram...how is it generated?

You will hear all the details on how PowerCalc's  database was written to provide fully populated NEC lookup tables, instantaneous updates for changes in your design and project, and its  automatic and simultaneously generated 1 Line Diagram. 

What's Next?

Past accomplishments are great, but PowerCalc's innovations are ongoing. On ElectricianLIVE, James will announce the launch of PowerCalc's new Industrial / Manufacturing Package.

This adds even more "firsts" to PowerCalc's long list of innovations: design of Automatic Transfer Switches with Generators (ATSs); Motor Control Centers (MCCs); Doubled Ended Switchgears; and Unit Substations. Expected release date is late March, and we are excited to tell you all about it.

And remember, we have a free demonstration  on the first Friday of each month. Next huddle: Friday, March 6 at 12 noon EST Mark your calendar!

Thank you for your support!

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Hear about the NEC at ElectricianLIVE

By James Khalil, P.E. | Feb 27, 2020 11:00:00 AM

James Khalil, PE inventor of PowerCalc reaches out to 300,000 listeners on ElectricianLIVE. The podcast is scheduled to air on Saturday, February 22nd at 7 PM EST, 8 PM CST, 9 PM PMT and 10 PM PST. 

Paul Abernathy runs the podcast and is a recognized expert and educator on the National Electrical Code (NEC). You can join on Master the NEC or ElectricianLIVENo signup is necessary.

Past accomplishments are great, but PowerCalc's innovations are ongoing. On ElectricianLIVE, James will announce the launch of PowerCalc's new Industrial/Manufacturing Package.

This adds even more "firsts" to PowerCalc's long list of innovations: design of Automatic Transfer Switches with Generators (ATSs); Motor Control Centers (MCCs); Doubled Ended Switchgears; and Unit Substations. Expected release date is late March, and we are excited to tell you all about it.

PowerCalc's industrial package can automatically do the electrical design for the most complex of manufacturing, processing, and operating facilities for any industry.

James answers the following questions:

          What is PowerCalc?

          How does PowerCalc comply with the NEC?

          Tell me about how you put together PowerCalc's data base?

          Tell me about PowerCalc's 1 Line Diagram...how is it generated?

PowerCalc is getting ready to launch its new Industrial / Manufacturing software,  tell us about your new software package...what does it do and when can we expect to have it available? 

You will hear all the details on how PowerCalc's  database was written to provide fully populated NEC lookup tables, instantaneous updates for changes in your design and project, and its  automatic and simultaneously generated 1 Line Diagram. 

Florida Engineering Society

And mark your calendars for Thursday, August 6th. At the Florida Engineering Society's Annual Conference, PowerCalc presents:  Commit to Green: The Conductor is the Link to Save at least 7% of Electrical Energy Use.

PowerCalc focuses on the conductor; the single largest link between the generation and end-use consumption of electricity. In the context of energy savings movements, it is time to look at the conductor: residential and commercial buildings consume 75% of the national electricity output and an estimated 30% of drawn energy is lost as heat.

  

We look forward to meeting you!

And remember, we have a free demonstration  on the first Friday of each month: FREE Demonstration Friday, March 6 at 12 Noon EST  Hope you will join us!

Thank you for your support!

Read More >

FES, FP&L, and Electrician LIVE

By James Khalil, P.E. | Feb 13, 2020 11:00:00 AM

February is a busy month for PowerCalc(tm) with a line up of speaking engagements and demonstrations

FP&L and Next/Era Energy

PowerCalc is one of just four companies speaking at the launch of Florida Power & Lights' Innovation Hub on Monday, February 10th in Juno Beach, FL.

FP&L, and its affiliate Next/Era Energy, are committed to innovation. Next/Era Energy is the world's largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun, and also has natural gas, nuclear energy and oil generating plants. Generating about 46,000 megawatts, it serves an estimated 10 million people including half of Florida.

PowerCalc will discuss our patented approach to electrical design as well as the support provided by Florida Atlantic University's accelerator program. PowerCalc graduated from FAU Tech Runway in its 3rd class in 2017.

The expansion of incubator programs such as FP&L's launch promote South Florida as an entrepreneurial hub. 

ElectricianLIVE

Then, James Khalil, PE inventor of PowerCalc will be reaching out to 300,000 listeners on ElectricianLIVE. The podcast is scheduled to air on Saturday, February 22nd at 8 PM CST. Paul Abernathy runs the podcast and is a recognized leading expert and educator on the National Electrical Code (NEC). You can join on Master the NEC or ElectricianLIVE. No signup is necessary.

Past accomplishments are great, but PowerCalc's innovations are ongoing. On ElectricianLIVE, James will announce the launch of PowerCalc's new Industrial/Manufacturing Package.

This adds even more "firsts" to PowerCalc's long list of innovations: design of Automatic Transfer Switches with Generators (ATSs); Motor Control Centers (MCCs); Doubled Ended Switchgears; and Unit Substations.

PowerCalc's industrial package can automatically do the electrical design for the most complex of manufacturing, processing, and operating facilities for any industry.

Florida Engineering Society

And mark your calendars for Thursday, August 6th. At the Florida Engineering Society's Annual Conference, PowerCalc presents:  Commit to Green: The Conductor is the Link to Save at least 7% of Electrical Energy Use.

PowerCalc focuses on the conductor; the single largest link between the generation and end-use consumption of electricity. In the context of energy savings movements, it is time to look at the conductor: residential and commercial buildings consume 75% of the national electricity output and an estimated 30% of drawn energy is lost as heat.

  

And remember, we have a free demonstration  on the first Friday of each month: FREE Demo Friday, Feb. 7 at Noon EST,   Hope you will join us!

Thank you for your support!

Read More >

The Patented PowerCalc Algorithm

By James Khalil, P.E. | Jan 30, 2020 11:00:00 AM

As our readers and colleagues know by now, PowerCalc(tm) is committed to innovation.

The sole reason that PowerCalc is covered by a US patent is the invention of its algorithm. Simply, we do things differently. 

As part of the start of this new decade, we've been reviewing the reasons for our Product of the Year awards in 2016 and 2019.  So let's take a more detailed look at the most important reason: PowerCalc's algorithm.

Bottom-Up Process to Automate Design

It sounds small, but the impact is big: design from the bottom – up.

PowerCalc implements this disruptive and patented approach adding the electrical loads of each branch circuit to sum up the Total Electrical Demand Load for a facility. PowerCalc designs from the branch circuit up to the power grid.

Top-Down Fails Inside the Facility

Most electrical engineering software is for the transmission of electricity in the power grid (outside of the facility)...the design process is from the top-down (from the location of the power's generation (such as the coal fired plant) down to where the electricity enters the facility). 

Most electrical engineering software for design inside the facility has adopted this top-down approach from the power grid. 

The simple adoption of this process fails to recognize that these are two different and separate power distribution systems: (1) the transmission system in the power grid (outside the facility) and (2) the power distribution system inside the facility (from where the electrical power enters the building from the power grid to where the power is used at the circuit (light switch, dishwasher, manufacturing equipment, etc.).

Simply, the power grid’s top-down approach to design the distribution of electricity in the power distribution system inside the facility does not work

Confusion: Expensive Mistake

The recurring comment from our customers is how their expensive “power grid” software is sitting on the shelf and never used for their work: the design of the power distribution system inside a facility. These purchases are expensive mistakes.

Let’s clear up this confusion: the distribution of electricity of the power distribution system inside the facility must meet code and regulatory requirements which are very different from those applicable to the transmission of electricity in the power grid. Specifically, the National Electrical Code (NEC). For this reason alone (and there are lots of other reasons) the design of power distribution systems inside the facility and outside the facility (power grid) are very different.

Power grid software (outside the building) just does not work inside the facility. In contrast to the concerns for electrical engineering design inside of facilities, these power grid software applications for outside the facility insure that connected systems are compatible and in harmony: (1) within the power grid itself or (2) between the power grid and the power distribution system inside the building.

Typically, these calculations are “studies” to check that connected systems act together as one electrical system. Examples are fault current studies, harmonic current studies, power flow studies, and similar calculations including the actual connection of the facility's power distribution system to the power grid/electrical service.

What is Bottom-Up design inside the facility?

It is a unique approach: PowerCalc starts at the beginning by calculating and aggregating data from each branch circuit up to the power grid/electrical service (bottom-up). For each branch circuit, there are 3 inputs: electrical load in KVA, number of poles (1, 2, or 3 poles) and electrical load type (LTG, Heading, AC, etc.). These 3 inputs provide over 300 NEC and other code compliant outputs. Check out More on NEC and Inputs/Outputs.

Why Bottom-Up design is necessary inside the facility?

  1. Automation Drives Productivity: Instant, Accurate and Compliant Results

PowerCalc’s over 7 million integrated equations tied to proprietary databases provide accurate and compliant results. And the integration allows for instant changes across the power distribution design…upstream and downstream. So, it is never a problem to add or change equipment, a room, a wing, or any change or update no matter how small or large.

This integration also allows for the simultaneous generation of the 1 Line Diagram...the only automatic 1 Line Diagram on the planet.

Automation drives productivity. This new accuracy and efficiency is game changing: save over 40% in design time and money. Save Time/Save Money. Also, far fewer building department comments, lawsuits, corrections for construction errors, and weekend hours.

  1. Total Electrical Demand Load

There should never be an error in the Total Electrical Demand Load for any project. Yet, the miscalculation of the Total Electrical Demand Load is one of the most common problems in electrical engineering design.

The proper and only fail-proof way to design the power distribution system in a facility is to add all the electrical loads from the branch circuit up to the service entrance with adjustments for changes (bottom-up). Values are aggregated in a 3 step process (1) add all electrical loads by type, (2) apply code demand factors to each load type, and then (3) add all electrical loads.

In contrast, guestimating the size of the electrical load in conjunction with pre-sets of panelboard sizes, equipment disconnects, feeders, and overcurrent protection devices at the start of the project leads to an inaccurate baseline on which to build the power distribution system design.

This is construction, so change is the standard in our business. So, how can anyone know the size of the electrical service at the start of a project?  No one can guestimate the Total Electrical Demand Load in conjunction with the factors identified above at project start. Only by adding all the electrical loads from the branch circuit up to the service entrance can the engineer correctly size and adjust for changes in the electrical load for the project.

The Total Electrical Demand Load drives the success of your electrical engineering design inside the facility.  An addition or subtraction error in the Total Electrical Demand Load results in either electrical equipment being oversized at potentially great cost to the developer or undersized at potentially great risk to the safety of the facility’s occupants.

More Information

The best way to understand the power of PowerCalc is to see it in action. View our videos:

Why-powercalc-user-manual

Set Up Your Account

Set up a Project

Set Up Your Panels

Input Branch Circuit Values

Set Up Remaining Panels

1 Line Diagram

Take a look at our User Manual to see for yourself how easy and seamlessly this process works. User Guide

So what's the plan for development in 2020?

Past accomplishments are great things, but PowerCalc's innovations are ongoing.

In 1st Quarter 2020, we will launch our industrial package with more FIRSTS in the industry:  AutomaticTransfer Switches with Generators (ATSs); Motor Control Centers (MCCs); Double Ended Swtichgears; and Unit Substations. All PowerCalc users will have the option to upgrade to the industrial package. And we are in beta testing at this time.

Our industrial package can design the most complex of manufacturing, processing, and operating facilities for any industry.

And remember, we have a free demonstration  on the first Friday of each month: FREE Demo Friday, Feb. 7 at Noon EST.   Hope you will join us!

Thank you for your support.

Read More >

Product of the Year 2016 and 2019 with more innovations to come

By James Khalil, P.E. | Jan 27, 2020 4:11:14 PM

As our readers and colleagues know by now, PowerCalc(tm) is committed to innovation.

Our software is covered by a US patent, and won Product of the Year awards in 2016 and 2019 for first and only electrical software in the cloud and with simultaneously generated 1 Line Diagram. And we've got even bigger innovations coming your way in 2020 so stay turned. 

But, with the new decade, let's first count the reasons why PowerCalc is currently the leader in electrical design software for buildings.

1.  The Power of the PowerCalc Algorithm.

PowerCalc is based on a new approach. PowerCalc aggregates values from the bottom-up (from the circuit to the power grid) ensuring that all electrical load calculations are actual loads and not estimates. Then, the calculations are integrated as a single, bundled, integrated calculation tied to a proprietary database instead of approaching the calculations one-at-a-time or in segments.  This approach results in exacting accuracy, all in compliance with the National Electrical Code (NEC)PowerCalc Patent

2. The Power of the PowerCalc Panel.

As you know, each engineering company has its own panel schedule. Generally these schedules are completed manually or with simple calculations. In contrast, PowerCalc's panel is the software and used as an "engine" for the calculations. The panel is not just a "placeholder".

3. The Power of the PowerCalc Process.                                    

The user calculates the Branch Circuit with just 3 easy inputs: load kVA, # of poles and load type per circuit. Multiple circuits form a Branch Circuit Panel. The Branch Circuit Panel is then connected to a Distribution Panel and finally these multiple panels are connected to the Main Distribution Panel. Equipment, such as HVAC, pumps, etc., can be connected to any of the panels.

The PowerCalc approach of moving from downstream to upstream, results in an accurate and well-designed Power Distribution System inside the facility. PowerCalc's 7 million+ equations do all the calculations for you....nothing needs to be done manually.

 (a) Instantaneous updates for changes. Then, because all calculations are integrated, any change at any time and for any value is instantaneous. That's instantaneous propagation across the entire power distribution system, including the addition or deletion of loads, voltage, phase, and any engineering value. 

(b) Simultaneously generated 1 Line Diagram. And this integration also provides for the simultaneous generation of the 1 Line Diagram...the user can see it build and change throughout the design process. Just like changes in (a) above, the 1 Line Diagram is instantaneously updated for each and every change / new input.

(c) Short Circuit Calculations. This integration with the 1 Line Diagram also results in the short circuit calculation being automatically calculated. When Short Circuit Calculations are completed with results displayed on the 1 Line Diagram, then AIC ratings for equipment are also automatically specified on the panel schedules.

4.  The Power of PowerCalc for NEC compliance.

PowerCalc tabulates loads by type and automatically applies NEC demand factors. The user can manually override demand factors to meet their specific project needs.

Just think, you may never have to open the NEC Handbook again. Inputs / Outputs     Compliance with the NEC

5.  The Power of the PowerCalc Wizard.

Become proficient with PowerCalc in minutes with its Wizard. The Wizard is your guide to entering your project's requirements into PowerCalc. You are minutes away from completing your next project with the PowerCalc Wizard.

6.  The Power of PowerCalc in the cloud.

PowerCalc is in the cloud and can be used anytime, anywhere, on both pc's and tablets. Team members can share work in real time and team managers can control access and privileges for each project.

The cloud makes all the difference because it is the way a team gets together to manage work flow in today’s work place. PowerCalc fits right into your process, but then improves it to make your work easierfastermore accurate, and more profitable.

7.  The Power of the PowerCalc Experience. 

The best way to understand the power of PowerCalc is to see it in action. View our videos:

Why-powercalc-user-manual

Set Up Your Account

Set up a Project

Set Up Your Panels

Input Branch Circuit Values

Set Up Remaining Panels

Take a look at our User Manual to see for yourself how easy and seamlessly this process works. User Guide

So what's the plan for development in 2020?

Past accomplishments are great things, but PowerCalc's innovations are ongoing.

In 1st Quarter 2020, we will launch our industrial package with more FIRSTS in the industry:  AutomaticTransfer Switches with Generators (ATSs); Motor Control Centers (MCCs); Double Ended Swtichgears; and Unit Substations. All PowerCalc users will have the option to upgrade to the industrial package.

Our industrial package can design the most complex of manufacturing, processing, and operating facilities for any industry.

And remember, we have a free demonstration  on the first Friday of each month: FREE Demo Friday, Feb. 7 at Noon EST,   Hope you will join us!

Thank you for your support!

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In the Cloud for Great Teamwork

By James Khalil, P.E. | Dec 26, 2019 11:00:00 AM

Way back in 2016, we won Product of the Year Gold for being 1st in the cloud. PowerCalc was not only first in the cloud in 2016, but to this day remains the one and only electrical design software in the cloud.  

We were reminded of the importance of being in the cloud by a user last week.  An electrical contractor with multiple offices called looking for a cloud based design software. His staff in different offices seem to usually have different design results. All of the things made possible by the PowerCalc's cloud platform address his concern: file sharing, access, control, communications, and collaboration. 

Simultaneously with our recollections of transitioning to the cloud, we asked the question:  Why are other softwares not in the cloud?  We don't know... except it is a lot of work. When we moved to the cloud, we re-wrote our 7.5 million Excel equations into computer code over a 12 month time period. This transition not only allows PowerCalc to be in the cloud, but also allows us to develop applications such as our just launched simultaneously generated graphic 1 Line Diagram which won Product of the Year in 2019.

Since it is the end of the decade, this reminder of PowerCalc's accomplishments by our users is appreciated. Of course, there are more reasons why PowerCalc excels:(1) its algorithm, (2) its panel, (3) its process, (4) its compliance with the NEC, (5) its Wizards, (6) its Cloud platform, (7)  its user experience, (8) its 1 Line Diagram, and (9) its energy savings module. Articles are on our website, but we will be re-publishing throughout year-end / year-beginning.  News   

Let's discuss  PowerCalc in the cloud in more detail.

1st in the Cloud: Why?

PowerCalc is the first, and also one and only, SaaS (software-as-a-service) electrical engineering design software in the cloud. It wasn’t easy: over 7.5 million equations were re-programmed in over a year of tireless work effort.

The reason for all of this effort? Being in the cloud changes everything.

  1. No software on your systems: no downloads, no installation, no risk to your systems
  2. Code: compliance with instant updates and upgrades
  3. Access: anywhere, any device, any time
  4. Control: over access, authorizations, and responsibilities for projects
  5. Up-to-date information: store, share, and sync files for all
  6. Communication: at all times
  7. Collaboration: at all times
  8. Accountability: track each input and change
  9. Same page: for every team member
  10. All work is available: (i) both current and past projects and (ii) current and past codes
  11. Easy, easier, and easiest way to work

PowerCalc’s cloud platform establishes a design procedure to maximize your team’s productivity, communications, and project quality.

You may think that your work is organized now, but just try the cloud for excellent design. 

How it Works

When the company’s account is set up, a Group Administrator is authorized.

 

 

 

 

 

The Group Administrator or the authorized User then names a new Project or accesses an existing project and invites Users. Users are also able to create their own projects if authorized by the Group Administrator:

 


 

 

The Group Administrator can add Users by simply sending an email invitation.

 

 

 

 

When inviting a User, the Group Administrator assigns privileges:


Create 
- User can start a project
View – User can view a project (editing not allowed)
Print – User can print a project
Copy – User can copy a project
Archive – User can archive / un-archive a project

Once privileges are set up, then the Group Administrator assigns access by clicking the “Assign Permissions”. Users can be granted or denied access throughout the design of any project. And a User can be blocked or disabled from any work group, and then re-invited to join again.

Accountability is ensured: never any question as to who is doing what, when, where, and why.

 

How does this help?

Teams succeed with great communications and great organization. Simplifying how your team works together promotes the collaboration necessary to excel.

PowerCalc’s cloud platform provides the method to establish work groups and responsibilities with everyone having access to what is happening. Those who “need to know” have the real time information necessary to get the job done the right way.

See for yourself

Take a look at our User Manual to see for yourself how easy and seamlessly this process works.

The cloud makes all the difference because it is the way a team gets together to manage work flow in today’s work place. PowerCalc fits right into your process, but then improves it to make your work easierfastermore accurate, and more profitable.

 

So what's the plan for development in 2020?

Past accomplishments are great things, but PowerCalc's innovations are ongoing. In 1st Quarter 2020, we will launch our industrial package with AutomaticTransfer Switches with Generators (ATSs) and Motor Control Centers (MCCs). All PowerCalc users will have the option to change to the industrial package.

And remember, we have a free demonstration  on the first Friday in the new year: FREE Trial Friday, Jan. 3 at 12 EST,   Hope you will join us!

Thank you for your support!

 

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