Tag: Submetering

The questions of metering….

Some History

Over the last few decades, metering energy has become more than just a device on the side of the building, in the electrical room or physical plant. It has now become a tool that provides data for managing buildings, tenants, cost centers, sustainability and much more.

It started with the simple questions related to installing a meter, walking up to the meter, reading the dials or display, writing down the ‘clipboard’ and using ‘sneaker net’ to get the information to a spreadsheet or other reports. With today’s technology, we now have a process that can be integrated on many levels, with the capability to share information with many departments, agencies, consultants and more. Feeding big data gives us a new set of questions.

Energy management is being looked at now beyond just electrical. It now includes the gas, water, other thermal loads and non-utility parameters. Metering has taken on an expanded role in the last decade to facilitate business operations and has become a primary source to the Big Data of energy management and efficiency. This discussion can go on for pages, but I am going to stick to some basic thoughts and questions for now.

Click to jump down to the answer:

Why should you meter?
Why don’t you meter?
Which one do I use?
How do I know I will get a payback?
What information am I looking for from the meter?
How is the data being delivered?
Where is the data being delivered?
How often am I going to receive this information and make an actionable decision?
How do I maintain the data historically and use the data effectively?

Why should you meter?

 


You can’t manage what you don’t measure
This old but true adage has been the initial driver to metering because everyone can understand this concept. ‘Guest-a-mation’ is no longer acceptable.
Monitoring and Verification (M&V)
As a result of an energy audit, you may replace a piece of equipment or adjust a controlled operation in your BMS. To prove the savings, you will need to perform a verification based on historical and current data in order to show success or failure. From a failure you can make the necessary adjustments and start the M&V process over. But when proven successful, the meter will continue to provide the ability to continuously commission the change and eliminate any drift or re-occurrence. It is important to maintain your savings.

Information is golden, not just for you but other departments
Metering can provide the ability or capacity to act effectively in making and maintaining changes. You need to think about all the active meter data participants for this installation.

Extend energy management with engagement
Everybody can be an energy manager if they can visualize the metering data. Allowing non-energy managers to support efficiency in seeing what their role is can become a powerful tool in the whole process.

Cost Allocation and budgeting
Dollars and cents are the real reasons to invest in any business operations. Metering can provide the ability to allocate internal costs which can lead to conscience cost saving behaviors in departments.

Check the utility for billing and rate confirmation
Many energy users who are conscious of their bills are unsure as to whether the utility is charging them correctly. Most rates are pretty simple, but with deregulation of electricity and gas, there are now multiple bills and suppliers to check on.

Improve your Energy Star score or other building performance measurement score
There are many cities across the US that has implemented either mandatory or suggested participation in utility usage. By using the EnergyStar Portfolio manager, the score is then available for public access. Although this requirement is yearly and only requires the data off of utility bills, the best way to start improving your score is by metering. CBECS is another building scorecard that may also be used.

Mandatory sub metering requirements
At some point in the future sub metering may be mandatory. How many will follow New York Local Law 88? Investing in the future by starting now may be viable.
Back To Questions↑

Why don’t you meter?

 


Capital costs
The initial invest of metering have come down dramatically over the last decade. More suppliers, newer technologies such as split core CT’s and clamp on devices are lowering this investment. Also, funding is now more available.
Installation and maintenance costs
Proper installation has a cost. If a shutdown is required, then costs go up even higher due to loss of production or off hour labor. It must also be determine whether in house personnel are capable of doing the install, or whether the service needs to be outsourced. You may need to use the meter vendor to support this. Meter maintenance is also an issue. Utilities are required to recalibrate and check metering sites in addition to fixing those that are not providing data. Now this must be done on the other side of the utility meters for all the sub meters in a facility.

System costs
Today meters are delivered with some form of communication capability. This can be hardwired to a PLC or appliance box, connected to the local Ethernet or to a wireless network. This integration and pulling of the data from the meter to the designated database is a onetime cost and should be specified in detail to define what metering parameters and controls need to be done.
Technical resource for installation and system connectivity
You need a smart team to install, commission and integrate the meter into the building and business process.
Back To Questions↑

Which one do I use?

 


There are many manufacturers of meters in the market providing a lot of the same functionality, but they all have something that makes them unique. First, think through of the purpose of the meter data and who will need access to it. Second, think about any future actions that may be required of this meter such as DR, Tenant Star or sustainability reporting. Then select the meters or create a request for information. Some basic things to consider should be:

  • Price – You need to make sure the functionality and data requirements are there, but that you do not pay for more than you need.
  • Support – The meter vendor’s commitment and knowledge is critical. Look to see if there is online support, blogs, FAQ’s and other media to answer your questions.
  • Warranty – This period should be between 3 to 5 years for electrical. It may vary more for gas, water and other flow type meters.
  • Integration flexibility with my IT, BMS or service provider – If the meter is being used by your building management system, then it should easily integrate into the system with minimal work by the BMS team.
  • Accuracy – This should not only be an issue for internal billing (tenant and others), but also for utility participation programs such as Demand Response, peak shaving and more. Beyond these applications most meters will work fine where plus or minus 1% is a good guideline.
  • Additional loads digital and analog inputs or outputs – Consider all meters within a reasonable vicinity when installing a meter. Some meters provide the ability to support inputs (both digital and analog). These inputs can be gas, water or older electric meters. Also, the meter may have to provide additional outputs beyond the communication protocols where a digital or analog output may be required by a BMS or SCADA system device.

Back To Questions↑

How do I know I will get a payback?

 


You don’t always know. Your EnergyStar score can show you need more detail. In conjunction with an energy audit, the detail from the meters can show what needs to change to improve your score. If part of an ECM, it may be factored into the cost of the ECM as part of the M&V. A safe working number, if there has never been any kind of monitoring has shown to be a 5% to 15% savings once enough data has been analyzed and reviewed.

What information am I looking for from the meter?
Meters are capable of providing and storing an inordinate amount of data. How do you determine what data is required? Who are users of the energy and engineering data? Facilities, Accounting, Sustainability and Engineers all can contribute to this decision.

Make the meter data into information use against your KPI’s for savings.

  • Energy / Usage data / Therms / BTU
  • Demand / Power data / Flow / Pressure / Temperature
  • Per phase current and amperage
  • Power Factor, kVAR and kVA
  • %Total Harmonic Distortion
  • Harmonic distortion / Wave capture
  • External value from external digital and analog inputs
  • So now you select the data, how often do want to store, read and analyze. Technology is making this easier but also more confusing.

Back To Questions↑

How is the data being delivered?

 


The supporting meter infrastructure needs to be considered with the selection and installation of the meters. There are IT questions to consider in metering, particularly when the meter data is going to a BMS or EMS system. If working with Software as a Service provider, other considerations need to be made.

How does an IP based meter effect the bandwidth of the network? What about my local security policy?

Most meter data does not go directly from a meter to a database. There is usual and intermediary device to read the meter and push to a system. A sample of these devices are:

  • Jace from Tridium
  • Obvius
  • 38Zero
  • Intellastar

These devices can directly interface with the BMS or EMS system. In addition they can now communicate over cellular networks directly to a hosted or corporate solution (SaaS).
Back To Questions↑

Where is the data being delivered?

 


Data has been historically retrieved by the building management or Building Automation System. Technology has opened this up to energy information and management systems, cloud databases, local historian system and many, many more. Understand the meter data flow that is needed to meet the current and future requirements. Will the data be staying within the Intranet of your organization, or need to be delivered to a SaaS / Cloud Provider to support our operations.
Back To Questions↑

How often am I going to receive this information and make an actionable decision?

 


You probably have limited resources to take action based on the metering data. Meters can provide data for the short and long review of your operations. Understand clearly the analytic process of the data. Also, select the right metrics and KPI’s to the information, then automate as much as possible. Take actions on these exceptions.
Back To Questions↑

How do I maintain the data historically and use the data effectively?

 


Metering data is the center of the energy management and efficiency process. The meters feed information to multiple levels and organizations. It is not just energy ,facility managers and engineering but also maintenance and sustainability applications.

The questions have evolved over the years and the Internet of things will reshape metering even more. Be conscious of the process of metering and begin viewing it as a system component that is part of the overall integrated solution.
Back To Questions↑

The EE Reports Submetering 101 & 102 Guides

TriactaSponsor

New low cost and wireless metering solutions are creating unique opportunities for contractors seeking to expand their business model. Access to real-time energy monitoring can open the doors to substantial energy savings for your customers and recurring revenues for you.

Metering and Submetering Value Add:

  • Energy procurement and billing
  • Baseline and optimizing building performance
  • Project measurement and verification (M&V)
  • Equipment and Plug-load diagnostic
  • Occupant awareness and behavior change
  • Access to utility and market revenue programs

The following table from the Department of Energy presents metering-related savings ranges based on different uses for metered data:

 estimatedmeteringsavingsWeb

 

The Companion guide to Metering 101; Detail on how submeters work, selecting the right meter, and questions to ask before installing:

The Submetering 102 Guide will take you through the three step process towards procuring submetering energy management. This guide will leave you with the basic knowledge necessary to perform a site survey, install submeters, and perform the reoccurring commissioning process (aka reoccurring revenue opportunities!).

Panoramic Power Energy Management Solution Overview

Delivered Solution

Panoramic Power’s Enterprise Energy Management Platform is a non-intrusive, scalable, device level energy management solution that combines self-powered, wireless sensor technology with a cloud based analytics platform. The solution generates alerts and reports in real-time, providing detailed analysis of energy consumption at the asset level. With granular, load-level real-time energy data, enterprises can optimize their infrastructure and behavior and realize significant savings on energy and operational costs.

panoramic

Data Integration and Acquisition

There are several ways for the system to accumulate information:

  • Data can be imported from other systems, meters and files
  • Data can be read in by file imports and API calls.
  • Open API and out-of-the-box adapters enable integration with third-party applications such as BMS, billing systems and controllers
  • Direct communicating devices are based on a proprietary technology using self powered CT/Meter sensors in one transmitting using 915 MHz (unlicensed frequency) to a collector that pushes the data via cell to the cloud database.

Data type support

Although system is primarily geared to electricity, the system will support other utility types and various operational parameters as part of the reporting and alarming process. The company also has a power meter which enables the metering of power, voltage, current, power factor and power quality measurement data.

Visuals

Dashboard

The dashboard provides a detailed snapshot of the energy consumption at single or multiple sites. The dashboard displays the total historical, current and projected energy consumption over the entire monitored sites. It also provides managers with a quick-glance view of energy consumption breakdown and provides energy and facility managers with detailed energy and operational information. Dashboards are updated based on the frequency of data coming in the system. There are some basic dashboard applications for review and optional tailored dashboard that can be provided upon request. Some standard dashboards (maps and performance screens) allow for stepping down and up the metering assets. Tailored dashboards can be provided for specific applications.

panoramic2

Reports

Standard Reporting

Consumption – Allow users to view consumption data per specific site and specific circuits over time and correlate it with ambient or outside temperature.
Heat Map – Display energy usage as a “heat” intensity map, enhancing user’s abilities to instantly detect exceptional energy consumption.
Data Normalization – Normalize energy consumption by weather and other site specific parameters to compare efficiencies between sites and systems. [In addition normalization can be done by the Panoramic Power Index and to other industry standards.

The solution includes canned reports based on best practices, as well as customized reports that can be provided for specific applications.

Actionable alarms and anomalies

Users can easily create sophisticated, rules-based events and alerts in order to automate and improve everyday processes. Events and alerts can be triggered by energy pattern, status and/or threshold changes. Multiple types of predefined alerts can be triggered when a threshold change, or a combination of threshold and temperature changes, is met. Alerts can be sent to customers via, SMS, Emails or HTTP post notifications.

Platform

SaaS platform operating across tablets and phones as well.

platformpanoramic

Licensing

SaaS – Pricing is based on hardware and an annual subscription to software. Pricing varies based on number and type of sensors purchased, as well as by the number of sites utilizing the solution

Optional Services

Deployment Services

  • Onsite hardware deployment
  • System configuration and validation
  • Training
  • Actionable alerts and automated report settings

Reporting Services

  • Proactive data monitoring, identifying actionable insights
  • Detailed analyst reports
  • Tailored reports and dashboards utilizing our business intelligence platform

Pros

  • With proprietary hardware and configuration simplicity, initial installation and uptime is very quick and cost effective.
  • Solid visuals and presentation

Cons

  • Direct read of meters using only Panoramic meter sensors for electricity. Therefore non-electric energy parameters must rely on 3rd party technologies to provide the data.
  • Does not support any open protocols such as BACNET, Modbus and Zigbee.

The Metering & Submetering 101 Guide

New low cost and wireless metering solutions are creating unique opportunities for contractors seeking to expand their business model. Access to real-time energy monitoring can open the doors to substantial energy savings for your customers and recurring revenues for you.

Metering and Submetering Value Add:

  • Energy procurement and billing
  • Baseline and optimizing building performance
  • Project measurement and verification (M&V)
  • Equipment and Plug-load diagnostic
  • Occupant awareness and behavior change
  • Access to utility and market revenue programs

The following table from the Department of Energy presents metering-related savings ranges based on different uses for metered data:

 estimatedmeteringsavingsWeb

In order to take action to reduce energy usage, owners and operators need to know how energy is being used in their buildings. Our metering and submetering guides will show you how to best generate these deep energy saving opportunities.


The Companion guide to Metering 101; Detail on how submeters work, selecting the right meter, and questions to ask before installing:

DENT Instruments Metering Overview

DENT Instruments supplies a wide range of metering solutions ranging from portable meters and loggers for M&V projects, single meters for three-phase loads, multi-circuit meters for high density three or single-phase loads and a SMARTlogger for monitoring and gathering data for projects. Along with meters, DENT provides a family of CT (Current Transformers) including split-core, clamp-on and Rogowski coil “rope” CTs (RoCoil™).

Common key functionality

  • BACNET and Modbus support for permanent metering systems (PowerScout meters) that communicate with existing BMS systems
  • .333v inputs in the ELITEpro & PowerScout meters
  • Software available to support installation of the meter

Temporary measurement tool

dent instruments

The ELITEpro XC is a complete solution for pinpointing electric usage and recording building performance metrics. It is capable of measuring, storing, and analyzing electrical consumption data which is derived from the voltage and current inputs. The ELITEpro XC uses direct connections to each phase of the voltage and various interchangeable CT options such as split-core current transformers, or flexible RōCoils (for large loads or large cables and buss bars) to monitor current on each phase.

Single-Point Submeter

singlept
  • Over 50 measured parameters for energy measurement
  • USB Port for quick and easy setup and diagnostics
  • Optional Display Quickly scroll through real-time values and perform diagnostics
  • Serial and Ethernet on the Same Unit – All Ethernet units (PS3037-E-X) are equipped with both RS-485 and RJ-45 connections standard
  • DIN Rail Mounting for compact installs
  • Revenue-Grade Performance ANSI C12.20-2010 qualified Class 0.2
  • Single or 3-phase energy and power meter for submetering applications
  • Full range of Split-Core or RoCoil™ Rogowski-style current transformers
  • Patented PhaseChek™ LED indicators ensure correct CT placement & orientation during installation
  • Line-Powered 80-600 VAC phase-to-phase power supply, (Use on 120/240V, 208/120V, 480/277V, or 580/335V, 380/220 volt services),50/60 Hz
  • Switchable between industry-standard Modbus Communications and BACnet Protocol
  • Features one digital output port
  • Data updates occur every 0.5 seconds
  • UL and CE Mark

 Multi-Circuit Submeter

multicrct
  • Over 50 measured parameters for energy measurement, monitoring and diagnostics. Monitors voltage, current, power, energy, and many other electrical parameters on single and three-phase  systems
  • 24 channels for multi-circuit monitoring
  • Single or 3-phase energy and power meter for submetering applications
  • Mix-and-match a full range of Split-Core or RoCoil™ Rogowski-style current transformers
  • Patented PhaseChek™ LED indicators ensure correct CT placement & orientation during installation
  • Line-Powered; 80-600V Phase-Phase Power Supply (Use on 120/240V, 208/120V, 480/277V, or 580/335V, 380/220 volt services), 50 or 60 Hz
  • Selectable industry-standard Modbus and BACnet Communications
  • Data updates occur every 1 second
  • UL
  • CE Mark (PS24 Serial only)

Smart Logger

SMARTloggers

 

The SMARTlogger series of instruments are designed to monitor the on-off status and total time of use data. SMARTloggers provide the operating schedule for energy-consuming devices or systems. Models are available for lighting systems, motor loads, or virtually any electric load generating at least .25 amps. Professional installation is not required to use these small, robust loggers.

Family of Current Transformers

Split core
High Performance Mini Hinged CTs
High Performance Midi Hinged CTs
Standard Split Cores
High Accuracy Split Cores
Ranges: 20A & 50A
Ranges: 100A & 200A
Ranges: 50A, 100A, 200A, 400A, 600A, 1000A
Ranges: 5A &15A
Rogowski coils (Rope)
RoCoil™
RoCoil mV™
RoCoil TCA-5™
Lengths: 16″, 24″, 36″, and 72″
Lengths: 16″, 24″, 36″ and 72″
Flexible CTs with a 5A Output
(use with any length RōCoil™ CT)
Clamp on
High-Performance 150A Clamp-On
1000A Clamp-On

Performance summary

Strengths:

  • High resolution 5 amp slit core CT that converts the 5 amp to .333mv input (despite no 5 amp input meter) which allows easy adaption to the older 5 amp configuration meter installations in the field
  • Multiple solutions for customers to choose from
  • Configuration software for easy setups; Preconfigured using a USB input
  • Line powered equipment. No auxiliary power required. (Does not apply to the SMARTloggers, which are battery powered – user-changeable coin-cell battery)
  • Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity options for temporary metering (ELITEpro XC)

Weaknesses:

  • Limited to .333v CT inputs
  • May be buying meters (with no CTs) that may never be implemented, but will still be available for future use. Ex: Requirement to meter 5 three phase panels and having 8 in the box
  • No harmonic measurement capability
  • PowerScout series: local display is optional on the standalone meter and not available on the multi-circuit meter. Note: Data can be locally displayed via Bluetooth to phone application or using DENT software to the meter USB connection

Submeters Help Avoid Increased Maintenance Fees

Located a few blocks from Pittsburgh’s Carnegie-Mellon University, Park Plaza Condominiums, a nine-level mixed-use property, is home to various commercial offices including Park Plaza Condominium Associates, the building owner.

Problem

Pressured by rising costs, the property manager—Arnheim & Neely—was faced with raising monthly fees to offset the property’s $20,000 per month electric bill or find a way to allocate and bill each owner’s electrical usage to recover a significant percentage of the facility’s operational overhead. Seeking to work with the owners, some of whom had been in the building up to 30 years, Park Plaza Condominium Associates chose the latter option.

Solution

A&N estimated running additional power company metering to each of the building’s more than 120 units would be five or six times costlier than simply submetering each apartment, including all residential units, to isolate each owner’s electrical usage (kWh) behind the main utility meter.

Submetering turned out to be the ideal solution for this application and a great way to avoid the inherent unfairness of traditional ratio-based fees commonly used in the industry. Based on a simple cost-per-square-foot formula, ratio-based structures favor high-consumption users by unfairly saddling low-use consumers with shared costs beyond their control or ability to manage. Submeters prevent such inequities and eliminate disputes by providing proof of actual energy usage.

At this point, the electrical contracting firm, Scalise Industries, Lawrence, Pa., was called. As service manager of the electrical division, Phil Reiss was given the job of managing the project, finding a vendor and supervising the submetering installation. Based on prior experience with the E-Mon D-Mon submeters, Reiss worked out the details with his local distributor, Tony Rinehart of Scott Electric, and the local E-Mon rep, Jack Group.

Once the job got underway, the team of manufacturer’s rep, distributor and project manager functioned like a well-oiled machine. “Scott Electric didn’t have an order that size in stock,” Reiss explains. “However, the factory got us all the equipment in a very timely fashion. E-Mon’s tech support and Mr. Jack Group were a huge help.”

Click on this link for the rest of the article: Retrofit Magazine: Submeters Help Avoid Increased Maintenance Fees at a Pittsburgh Mixed-use Property