Critical power: Selective coordination in health care buildings

Thursday, September 24, 2015, at 11 a.m. PT /1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET
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Health care facilities, especially hospitals, have more stringent selective coordination requirements than conventional building electrical systems, according to some electrical engineers. The unique constraints of health care facility electrical distribution systems require engineers to be diligent when designing these systems. The code requirements are less stringent, but the function in these buildings is more important. Selective coordination localizes an overcurrent condition to restrict electrical outages to the affected equipment, circuit, or feeder. 

In a properly coordinated system, a fault induces operation of the nearest device on the line side of the fault and limits the outage to only the faulted portion of the system. If overcurrent devices are not selectively coordinated, the fault has the potential to impact one or several devices upstream resulting in a much larger scale outage than necessary for system protection. In extreme cases, faults can open the main overcurrent protective device and cause an outage for the entire facility. In addition, electrical power provided by gensets has less available fault current than the utility. Therefore, selective coordination in the health care environment has different criteria when connected to standby power. 

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Sponsors: ASCO, Russelectric

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