Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management, has assembled a team dedicated to the Green Buildings segment. The organization is focused on holistic solutions that address customer needs for high performance green buildings, including building retrofits and new building construction.

The new segment is under the direction of Melissa O'Mara, vice president, Green Buildings Solutions, within the global Buildings Business. O'Mara will be responsible for bringing Schneider Electric's full portfolio of energy and security solutions together to address environmental and economic challenges through smarter, innovative solutions and cross-enterprise collaboration in global markets.

O'Mara brings close to 25 years of experience in sustainability, strategy and innovation from companies including Andersen Consulting and IBM, where she most recently drove their Green Sigma™ Coalition.

"The rising price of energy combined with growing environmental concerns and aggressive regulation in many parts of the world means that energy efficiency can no longer be optional or an afterthought," O'Mara says. "Businesses that own or operate any type of building must invest in more efficient technologies that reduce financial, regulatory and environmental risks."

Schneider Electric's Green Buildings segment is designed to help companies and organizations around the world optimize their power consumption and energy performance to meet their sustainability targets, and/or achieve regulatory commitments to reduce energy use and GHG emissions.

Schneider Electric's comprehensive EcoStruxure energy management architecture connects five domains of business expertise — power, data centers, process and machines, building control, and security — within an open and flexible technology architecture that delivers up to 30% savings in energy efficiency. It applies to any size building. The mechanical contractor can use EcoStruxure to commission his installation quickly and effectively. Utilizing the installed system, he can then look deeply into his facility/building in an effort to keep his building fine-tuned and "energy green".

"This monitoring and control for the HVACR contractor would begin at the machine (HVACR equipment) level, all the way through the BAS, for a top of the architecture-down look at lighting systems, energy monitoring, power conditioning, security, CCTV, pumping systems , fire management and a multitude of other systems," says Bob Gray, HVACR business segment manager for Schneider Electric's Industry Business.

Gray told ContractingBusiness.com that mechanical HVAC contractors are learning to discard old habits, and focus on new energy savings initiatives.

"Due to the demand for more energy efficient equipment, which ranges from chillers, packaged RTU's AHU's boilers, etc., installations have become more complex," Gray says.

"The technology has reached a point where the mechanical contractor of old is obsolete. Today's mechanical contractor must have expertise on staff that is familiar with the new 'high tech' machine and control systems technology. They may be installing a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system one week, and the next week installing a high efficiency chiller that uses condenser and chilled water temperature/flow reset with VFD's on the chilled water and condenser water pumps."

Gray believes contractors are also facing increasing demands for technicians well-trained in the latest energy savings technology, which can be provided in part by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and controls manufacturers.

"The OEM's and control manufacturers must manufacture machines and controls that are essentially 'plug & play,'" Gray says. "'Keeping it simple' is the key message we as manufacturers must live by in an effort to support the mechanical contractors in the field adequately."

"Integrating technology is just the first step in addressing aggressive GHG and sustainability targets, and Schneider Electric is committed to assisting companies around the world achieve greater efficiency to mitigate climate change," O'Mara says. "Part of that challenge is to address people and process innovation as well as technology innovation."

Depending on the types of installations where the contractor is involved and their particular level of technical expertise, Schneider Electric can fill the gaps initially for the contractor using Schneider Electric support resources. Schneider Electric will work with a contractor to tailor a training program to meet their specific needs and to fit the markets and types of machines and controls they are accustomed to installing and supporting.

For more information about Schneider Electric's integrated buildings solutions, visit schneider-electric.com