September 2023

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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 3 | 47 Electrical & Communications Systems Cutting-edge technology ignites major advancements in the electrical and communications systems industry by NATALIE BRUCKNER I n the vast landscape of Canada's electrical and communications systems industry, remarkable advancements in electrical engineering have ignited a wave of innovation across various sectors. From the institutional to the commercial, industrial, and multi-unit residential sectors, the application of cutting-edge technology has revolutionized the way we interact with and har- ness electrical power. These advancements have not only propelled efficiency and sustainability to new heights, but have also paved the way for integrated communications systems that seamlessly connect individuals and organizations. One of the most significant changes observed of late by Indpreet Kaur, a senior electrical engineer at NDY, is the active pursuit of more efficient methods to generate, store, and utilize electrical energy. Kaur explains, "As technology becomes more prevalent in society, electrical engineers are at the forefront of spearheading these changes. The Internet of Things [IoT] is transforming various industries, enabling the production of new products and services such as smart homes, smart buildings, and automated farming techniques. IoT has impacted industries like healthcare, banking, retail, and manufacturing." Moreover, a notable trend highlighted by Kaur is the growing focus on elec- tric vehicle charging stations, solar and wind energy systems, energy storage, smart grids, and cybersecurity. According to Kaur, "Decarbonization will push current infrastructure to its limits. Over the next two decades, we anticipate a 20 percent annual increase in the demand for electrification of vehicles like cars, buses, lorries, and trains. The influence of electric vehicles on the grid is expected to be most prominent starting in 2030. However, these projections could be further increased by industry initiatives, consumer preferences, and new government regulations." In addition to the above trends, solar energy holds tremendous potential in shaping the future of power generation on a larger scale, significantly reducing carbon footprint and combating climate change. Kaur explains, "The electricity industry is crucial for achieving net-zero emissions. To ensure zero, low, or neg- ative emissions in future power generation, the federal government will soon implement the Clean Power Regulations. Canada's energy future is focused on achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This will involve replac- ing existing technologies with electricity-powered ones, such as heat pumps and electric cars. Increased reliance on electricity will also enhance national energy efficiency, resulting in a projected 22 percent reduction in energy consumption by 2050. Additionally, new technologies and fuels like bioenergy and hydrogen will play crucial roles in reducing challenging-to-address emissions." The demand for smart building technology is also increasing with EV charg- ing requirements requested from clients without any specific end-user goal. Ace Johnson, operations manager for Western Pacific Enterprises Ltd. (WPE), explains that "WPE has been involved in numerous design assist projects where we have sat down with clients to go through what some real-use cases look like, so that the client can apply the appropriate system for their project build." WPE has recently completed successful installations of smart building systems at 745 Thurlow and The Post (the Canada Post Redevelopment project), and is working with the Oakridge Redevelopment project team early in the construction phase. There is increasing concern for renewable energy sources and balancing costs. A lot of electrical equipment that utilizes a greener source of energy tends to be more expensive and there is always a struggle to find balance between an energy efficient build versus cost-effective build. WPE has been assisting owners and engineers with example cases from similar projects to apply appropriate design that balances cost and efficiency. "One of the major drivers of mechanical electrification is when projects don't manage the energy model carefully enough until after major building components, such as windows and siding, have been procured. This means that mechanical AMPED UP! P H OTO G R A P H Y CO U RT E S Y H O U L E EL EC T R I C

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