Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Nov 1, 2021

EIN Mysa logo 400In Canada, approximately one in three households use electric baseboards, with Quebec, BC, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Manitoba residents using primarily electric heating. However, Mysa Co-Founders Joshua and Zachary Green found there weren’t many smart thermostats for high voltage baseboard heating.

“We were inspired by Nest and ecobee, who have great smart thermostats for low-voltage systems, but there were virtually no options for baseboard heating — that was the birth of Mysa,” said Green.

“We launched our flagship product, Mysa for Electric Baseboard Heaters, in 2018 —since then, we’ve shipped close to 150,000 thermostats for baseboard heating across Canada and the U.S.”

A Mechanical Engineer out of Dalhousie University and passionate about environmental sustainability, Green began conducting energy audits for homeowners as Empowered Homes. Through that process, he recognized the majority of homes that he audited used high/line voltage heating systems. He saw a clear need for a smart thermostat solution that could improve his clients’ energy efficiency and help them save money on their electricity bills.

Mysa Thermostat“Mysa’s overarching mission is to fight climate change through the creation of innovative tech that helps homeowners increase their energy efficiency. We really believe in the importance of electrification and moving away from things that are currently fossil fuel-based,” he explained.

“We knew that we needed a solution that was going to be easy to install, that homeowners, electricians, and HVAC users would easily recognize as a drop-in solution. Mysa Smart Thermostats essentially replace existing thermostats by acting as a switch between the electrical panel and the baseboard heaters.”

Mysa currently has three smart thermostat products for different applications. After launching Mysa for Baseboards, they added an option for in-floor heating, which includes a built-in GFCI. Mysa’s newest product, the Mysa Smart Thermostat for Air Conditioners, is designed to control ductless mini-split heat pumps, window, and portable AC units. Mysa for AC is a ‘plug and play’ (i.e., no hard wiring) smart thermostat solution.

Mysa for Baseboards and Mysa for In-Floor require installation in high/line voltage electrical systems. Our Canadian Electrical Code expert, Bill (William) Burr, notes that, “In the Canadian Electrical Code and in all jurisdictions, installing the Mysa is considered regulated electrical work and would require an electrical permit to make this alteration.”

In many jurisdictions, Burr noted, the permit must be obtained by an electrician or electrical contractor. However, he clarifies that, “in some jurisdictions, a homeowner is allowed to obtain a permit to do electrical work on their own home. Where this is the case, the installation will likely need to be inspected. Having said that, in some jurisdictions, if a homeowner has demonstrated they are competent to do this work, the permit may be waived.”

Ultimately, Burr said, “In each case, the local authority having jurisdiction needs to be consulted for their procedures.”

One of the biggest challenges for Mysa was developing the product at a reasonable price point, primarily given that one household may require multiple thermostats.

“Traditional smart thermostat solutions were expensive because you only needed one per home. We knew that wasn’t going to be a model that worked when you have a large number of thermostats in the home. We knew we needed to lower the price by simplifying the device and really relying on folks using their smartphone or tablet to control Mysa,” said Green. “When you look at the design of our product, it’s very sleek and modern, but that’s because we’re really trying to make it simple and lower the cost as much as possible.”

Mysa Team Josh Green

Another interesting challenge was navigating electrical certifications. “It was a really eye-opening experience, and we learned a lot from it, and ultimately it made the product better. “In terms of how the process improved the product, Green said, “I think really it was refinement. We started out with prototypes of the product, of course, and involved CSA and UL and the testing bodies that they use fairly early-on in the design process. Through various stages they helped us with understanding where our product needed to be improved, those were the kinds of changes that were being done as we were developing the product.”

“It allowed us to make a thermostat that was going to be viable, easier to install, and last longer. We learned a lot about that through CSA and UL, of which we are very appreciative.”

Mysa’s free mobile app for iOS and Android gives users full remote control of their home heating or cooling from anywhere, using their smartphone or tablet. 

The Mysa app’s ‘Scheduling’ feature allows users to create and maintain their ideal heating and cooling schedules based on their day-to-day activities. “Our data shows that 80% of our users are running a schedule on their thermostat,” Green noted.

Traditional programmable thermostats, Green said, can be difficult to navigate for some users and end up getting neglected. Simplifying that programming was a key element for Mysa when developing the product.

“The average Mysa customer sets their thermostat back by approximately 3 degrees Celsius. That setback allows them to save up to 26% — and in some cases, more — on their home electricity bills. Another awesome energy-efficiency feature, Geolocation, does the setback automatically when it detects that you have left and turns the heat back on when you return.”

“We also provide really great data about how much electricity our customers are actually using. We built current and voltage sensors in so that we are measuring the electricity/power consumption, in real time.”

They are able to display hourly, daily, weekly, monthly data on how much electricity you’re using and on a per room basis, “If you enter in your electricity rate in the app, we can show you how much electricity you’re actually using per room in kilowatt hours and dollars and cents. Our customers really appreciate being able to see such granular level data and then being able to use that data to improve their schedule so they can minimize their electricity consumption.”

Users can view their energy consumption at the whole home level, and then break it down in bar graphs to see which rooms are consuming the most energy. Grouping various rooms into ‘Zones’ can also help users track energy usage effectively when working with the Mysa app.

“Before my time at Mysa, I was really engaged in energy efficiency in general. One of the things I installed at my electrical panel was an energy monitoring system,” which Green explained monitors voltage and current and displays usage in an online interface. “I thought that was a really powerful tool to be able to measure energy consumption. That’s where the inspiration came from, we are also in line with these circuits so we can measure electricity consumption.”

In addition to ongoing product development, a key focus for Mysa as the company continues to mature is expanding their presence in the market by developing more robust industry partnerships in retail and distribution. “Over the last year and a half, we’ve been expanding to work with more retail partners, as well as more trade and professional partners. We recognize they represent a huge distribution channel and great partners for Mysa.”

Changing Scene

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EIN ABB logo 400ABB is an international company with a large global presence, but did you know that a significant percentage of the products sold in Canada are also designed and manufactured locally?

ABB’s Installation Products division, formerly known as Thomas & Betts, operates seven manufacturing facilities in Canada, six of them in Quebec and one in Alberta.

Many of their most well-known brands, including IBERVILLE®️️, Marrette®️️, Microlectric®️️, and Star Teck®️️, are products that started in Canada and are still manufactured locally to meet Canadian standards.

 

 


 

Canadian Electrical Contractor Discussion Group: Can You Count the Deficiencies?

EIN CECD 400Have you ever been called to fix the work of a 'handyman'?

"Was supposedly done by a"certified ' electrician....told the homeowner that he got a $266 permit....no record at TSBC. Can you count the deficiencies?"

"There is a second panel change in the triplex also.......even more deficiencies. Think the guy was a glorified handyman. Ones not obvious: 240 BB heat hooked up 120....drier on 2p20....range on 2p50....water heater fed with 2c14 Bx on 2p15."

Go HERE to join the discussion

 


 



 

 Siemens Built In Isolation Products 400By Alyssa Kerslake

Life safety today is top of mind for nearly everyone. There is a certain level of trust that fire alarm systems continue to work within a fire incident. With system survivability being a key concern to regulators, building managers, and the public, Siemens has developed systems that are designed to meet and exceed regulations that protect people, property, and assets. 

One of the most significant concerns, particularly in a large multi-story building, is implementing a secure and fully functional fire alarm system. Today, it is not uncommon to have power and data for hundreds of fire alarm devices connected over a single pair of wires. The concern is, if a fault occurs somewhere between the devices, the zone and location of the device may no longer be known, or the operation of that circuit reduced or possibly impaired. These scenarios could allow an undetected catastrophic event to develop within the space due to inoperable life safety devices. 

 

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David Gordon

By Terry Becker, P.Eng., CESCP, IEEE Senior Member

The CSA Z462 Workplace electrical safety Standard published its 2021 Edition in January.  A mandatory requirement for an employer is developing, implementing, and auditing an Electrical Safety Program.  If you have an Electrical Safety Program, is it up to date in its policies, practices and procedural requirements, is it performing as expected?  Workers do not necessarily do what you expect, they do what you inspect!  Management of change is required.

I have been involved in supporting industry with respect to shock and arc flash hazards in the workplace and in understanding what needs to be done to ensure worker safety, that effective defendable due diligence is established, and evidence of compliance is available related to occupational health & safety regulations both Provincial, Territorially or Federally.  I am in Ontario this week completing a detailed Electrical Safety Audit at multiple enterprise facilities.


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Product News

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Milwaukee M12 Cable Stripper

Connect plug-in lamps, holiday lighting, and small appliances to the top “Controlled” outlet, while the bottom “Powered” outlet remains always on. The DW15R features tamper resistant receptacles with built-in shutters to prevent the insertion of unintended foreign objects. As well, the integrated button with vanishing feedback LED provides manual push-button on/off control and clear indiciation at any time.

Simplify control of the residence - schedule lamps and connected loads to turn on/off at specific times or based on sunrise/sunset, easily group smart devices into rooms, and create scenes to activate multiple loads at once. Utilize the auto-shutoff feature as a countdown timer in closets, hallways and bathrooms.

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Incoplas Hybrid

Now available for Siemens Class 52 Actuators and Indicator Lights are the new Class 1, Div. 2 contact blocks. Suitable for use in Hazardous Location, Class 1, Div. 2 applications when used in a suitable enclosure. No matter which style actuator you use, the common base provided attaches to the hazardous location contact blocks easily.

Hazardous Location (HL) Series Contact Blocks are good for Hazardous Location CL1, DIV2 Applications using a Standard Enclosure NEMA 1, 12, 13, 4, 4X.

HL Series Contact Blocks are rated for switching high inrush loads like Tungsten Lamps.

 

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EarthTronics 25-Watt Emergency Driver for Linear Highbay

The 20A Outlet and 15A Outlet have the ability to allow function specific Inserts to be installed/removed/swapped making this platform an optimal choice for renovations and new construction. The Swidget Outlet is installed using the same wiring as a standard wall receptacle and when paired with a Swidget Insert turns into a powerful and flexible Smart Home device. The swapability of the Inserts ensures that this will work with Smart Home wireless systems now and in the future.

The Swidget product line targets the Home Automation and Smart Home markets with a unique future-proof solution. Swidget currently offers eight smart Inserts with different functionalities including Wi-Fi control, indoor air quality sensor, temperature, humidity, and motion sensors, as well as a USB charger guide light, and emergency lighting. They can all be controlled from anywhere with the Swidget App for iOS/Android or Alexa and Google Home.

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Peers & Profiles

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EngWorksBy Blake Marchand

EngWorks was formed in 2004 as an electrical engineering and consulting firm by Allan Bozek, “After a short time we realized there was a niche in hazardous locations, in particular in hazardous area classification design requirements for various facilities. And also helping people understand just how the Canadian Electrical Code applies to hazardous locations.”

Given the complexity of hazardous locations, Bozek saw a need for education while working in the field and began developing training courses designed.

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Éric DeschênesBy Line Goyette

As the head of ABB Canada's electrification business unit, Éric Deschênes is no newcomer to the electrical industry. He has a long track record and a passion for finding practical solutions to optimize technology adoption. Deschênes took on his current role with ABB January of 2020, he joined ABB in 2017 as Executive VP of the Electrification business after 15 years with Schneider Electric.

We met with him recently to discuss his new role at the helm of ABB Canada and his plans moving forward. He began by pointing out that the recent change to ABB Canada's structure, as elsewhere in the world, was made to make customer relations more straightforward. 

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