Issue 131 March - April 2019

Please note: The issue content below is just a summary of the articles in the printed magazine.
The articles are not available on-line. Please refer to the printed magazine for the complete article.
Easy load management for electric vehicle charging

As more companies look at providing electric vehicle charging for their staff and customers, working out how much spare capacity they have in their electrical infrastructure to handle the increase in electricity demand becomes the key issue.

While the available capacity will vary from building to building and time of use, managing power availability is no longer the issue it used to be, says Schneider Electric, following the launch of its new EVlink Load Management System.

That’s because this new power managing solution monitors the power being consumed by non-vehicle loads and then automatically distributes the available energy up to a pre-set level for the building to any connected electric vehicles (EVs).

“As a result much of the capacity risk and any peak time-of-use charging is minimised by the EVlink Load Management System, giving site owners continuous access to available and affordable power, and a worry-free path to EV use,” says Schneider Electric’s manager for charging solutions, Adrian Duque.

He says the new load management system is being launched in only a few countries worldwide and New Zealand is one of the leaders. The EVlink system is designed for any EV installation using three or more charging stations from Schneider Electric’s EVlink Smart Wallbox or EVlink Parking ranges.

Industry short-changed by standards failure

Frustration over the failure of Standards NZ to run an effective standards development operation for the regulated electrical industry appears to be reaching a crisis point, with no clear path going forward for the industry.

There are problems at all levels in MBIE’s standards organisation and little evidence of any corrective measures has emerged. Ironically, on March 18, the electrical regulator, WorkSafe, chose to contract Standards NZ to run a forum for people and organisations involved in the development of standards for no clear reason other than to hope Standards NZ management discovers the extent of the problems and can find a productive way forward for both WorkSafe and the industry.

Working in the standards arena has not been a comfortable fit for WorkSafe as the workplace safety regulator responsible for enforcing the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA).

Health and safety legislation in New Zealand is driven by hobbyists working locally and not engaged in the international standards arena. As a consequence, the workplace regulator lacks the knowledge of international best practice when developing safe work methodologies and relies instead on its own development of local codes of practice and safe work instruments under HSWA for prescriptive detail in particular areas of work.

Managing outbuilding risks

One of the recent topics discussed by inspectors at the New Zealand Electrical Inspectors Association is whether or not sub-mains feeding an outbuilding with an MEN switchboard should fall within the definition of high-risk work and should be subject to inspection.

NZEIA canvassed its members for comments on how they were addressing this in their inspection work, and also whether they believed work on any MEN outbuilding switchboard should be classed as high-risk work.

While the ensuing discussion did not resolve the issue, it clearly showed there was no unanimity of understanding as to where the regulations and standards should draw the line. For every respondent that believed that inspection should not be required, there were two that said it should.

As the law now stands, high-risk work is defined solely in the Electricity Regulations as is the inspection required for it. The inspection of prescribed electrical work (PEW) is itself PEW and the legal requirements for that do not exist in standards regardless of any reference to inspection in those standards.

Inspections for medical locations

In 2010 seven key areas of electrical installation work were designated as high-risk in the Electricity Regulations and each of them had to be installed, tested, inspected and connected in accordance with standards cited specifically for them.

Typically, that meant complying with AS/NZS 3000 as well as a standard cited specifically for each area of high-risk prescribed electrical work.

Where any of these standards include requirements that are outside the scope of prescribed electrical work (PEW), confusion arises as to who is competent, responsible, or authorised to verify the safety and compliance of these additional requirements and what form should any attestation of safety and compliance take.

To address this, three years ago, electrical inspector Garry House called for the creation of new types of inspectors that could address electrical safety and also other matters in each cited standard that were critical for safety and conformance. (See ElectroLink, November 2016 issue, page 40)

House called for inspector competencies to be established in hazardous area safety that would include hazardous area assessment, electrical inspection and test certification along with knowledge of fire loadings, chemicals, ignition sources including mechanical, health and safety principles and risk assessment.

Today, he says, a similar approach needs to be applied for inspections relating to medical locations and patient treatment areas to manage not only electrical risks but non-electrical risks such as the signage and its location required by the standard.

From an electrical compliance standpoint, the issue is easy if you don’t read the regulations too closely.

ICEye – black ice detection from LZ New Zealand

LED lighting today not only improves lives, it is also being used to save lives with innovations like the new illuminated ice warning systems from LZ New Zealand.

This Auckland-based lighting company has just released a new solar-powered pavement marker that the company has designed to flash blue LED light when the temperature drops to zero.

LZ director, Liberio Riosa, is launching the ICEye product internationally at the annual Intertraffic China conference at the end of May.

He believes his New Zealand road stud is the only commercially available option in the world to detect possible ice and believes there is a ready demand for the company’s new safety product.

ICEye adds to LZ New Zealand’s current road marker range. It is powered by a built-in 4 V, 65 mAh monocrystalline solar panel feeding low-temperature rechargeable Li-Fe batteries and produces a luminous intensity of 6000 mcd, says Riosa.

“Despite the miniature size of the solar panel, ICEye delivers over 240 hours of continuous operation from a full charge.”

Light flicker, safety and health

Older engineers who worked with fast-moving machinery will talk about the hazards that came with the introduction of fluorescent lighting. The flicker caused by the magnetic ballasts in these fittings was legendary. It could cause spinning lathes and dangerous cutting blades to appear as though they were moving slowly or not moving at all, when in fact they were moving at lethal speeds.

Many engineers have a story about an apprentice who thought a machine was switched off and reached in toward their work only to have their fingers damaged beyond saving.

Today, WorkSafe prosecutions for injuries like this are resulting in substantial six-figure fines, and lighting designers and electrical contractors can do a lot to prevent harm from occurring simply by upgrading the lighting and selecting fittings and controls that will not cause this dangerous optical effect.

The dark wall trend – why it matters for lighting

The latest fashion colours should be good for lighting sales. Dark walls are a key interior design trend, with design websites and magazines featuring dark colours as their picks for 2019 and through to 2020.

The paint manufacturers have a new palette of dark greens, blues and charcoals to match, with Resene featuring ‘stormy darks’ that are ‘brooding and powerful’, and Dulux with ‘a versatile deep green’ as their colour of the year. The trend extends to dark ceilings and we are also seeing rooms with all-black surfaces.

So, what does this have to do with lighting? We instinctively know that darker surfaces make a room look darker, but how much does this affect the light in the room really? How do we know when we need to add more light? And how can we as lighting designers and installers add value in this situation?

We spoke to Resene’s technical director, Colin Gooch, for a beginner’s lesson in colour and light. He says it’s very straightforward – every colour has a light reflectance value (LRV). Subtract the LRV number from 100 and that will tell you how much light is absorbed by that colour, and you can plan your lighting accordingly.