Stakes of architecture design

From Electrical Installation Guide

Choice of distribution architecture

This chapter is dedicated to electrical architecture design for medium and large buildings. Despite the various types of buildings (office, hotel, industrial, collective housing, etc.) the stakes for electrical design rely on a key process with practical considerations described in this chapter.

The choice of distribution architecture has a decisive impact on installation performance throughout its lifecycle:

  • right from the construction phase, choices can greatly influence the installation time, possibilities of work rate, required competencies of installation teams, etc.
  • there will also be an impact on performance during the operation phase in terms of quality and continuity of power supply to sensitive loads, power losses in power supply circuits,
  • and lastly, there will be an impact on the proportion of the installation that can be recycled in the end-of-life phase.

The Electrical Distribution architecture of an installation involves the spatial configuration, the choice of power sources, the definition of different distribution levels, the single-line diagram and the choice of equipment.

The choice of the best architecture is often expressed in terms of seeking a compromise between the various performance criteria that interest the customer who will use the installation at different phases in its lifecycle. The earlier we search for solutions, the more optimization possibilities exist (see Figure D1).

These topics are now part of IEC60364 standard in chapter 8 (IEC 60364-8-1: Low voltage electrical installations - Energy Efficiency).

Fig. D1 – Optimization potential

A successful search for an optimal solution is also strongly linked to the ability for exchange between the various players involved in designing the various sections of a project:

  • the architect who defines the organization of the building according to user requirements,
  • the designers of different technical sections (lighting, heating, air conditioning, fluids, etc.),
  • the user’s representatives e.g. defining the process.

The following paragraphs present the selection criteria as well as the architecture design process to meet the project performance criteria in the context of industrial and tertiary buildings (excluding large sites).