Schneider Talks Energy Efficiency with EcoStruXure

Schneider Electric, which two years ago bought data center power management company APC, is looking to bring its myriad power management brands under the same umbrella, called EcoStruXure. The idea is to offer energy-efficiency solutions for all sorts of buildings, from data centers and homes to office buildings and factories. Schneider also is relying on a Web services platform to help tightly integrate the design of its various components to offer greater compatibility. There are several prongs to Schneider's EcoStruXure strategy, including education, technology and outreach to developing economies.

NEWPORT, R.I.-For the past several years, French energy management company Schneider Electric has aggressively built out its expertise through internal growth and external acquisitions.

Its biggest step into data centers came in 2007 with its $6.1 billion purchase of APC (American Power Conversion), which makes power management supplies for IT environments. Schneider also offers devices for buildings, homes, factories and other facilities.

Now the company-with more than 114,000 employees, a presence in more than 100 countries, 120 brands and 600 legal entities-is looking to pull all these businesses, products and services together to offer businesses of all sizes energy management capabilities that Schneider officials say can help reduce carbon emissions from their buildings by 30 percent.

At a daylong event here June 5 attended by more than 400 journalists from around the world, Schneider officials laid out their EcoStruXure initiative that is designed to create more intelligent and simpler energy management components that save money and reduce waste.

It also guarantees greater integration between Schneider's myriad products thanks to more compatible designs and a Web services architecture that helps create this integration.

"For the first time, energy is becoming a C-level issue," Schneider Chief Marketing Officer Aaron Davis said. "Also, technology for the first time is [tying] these things together. ... Power and IT needs to work together."

Schneider, Davis said, has significant footprints in both energy and IT.

The company first began talking about its EcoStruXure push last year, as part of its "one company" program. Schneider officials began outlining some of its deliverables during the event here.

"This [new software] architecture is about collaboration and how this works together," said Jim Simonelli, CTO of Schneider's IT business unit, adding that the company already has many hardware pieces that can help with energy efficiency. "With EcoStruXure, we're trying to bring them together."

Davis spoke about Energy University, an online educational community designed to teach people how to begin designing, building and implementing energy-saving programs in their buildings. The courses touch upon such issues as energy efficiency fundamentals, alternative power, data center efficiency and the economics of energy efficiency. The project, which can be found here, is similar in design to the company's Datacenter University.