Submetering can be a cost-effective way to measure actual utility reductions from some of your energy- and water-saving initiatives. Installing submeters allows facilities professionals to separately monitor electricity, gas, water, steam, and other utilities for individual tenants, departments, or pieces of equipment.
A typical submeter monitors a specific utility usage, sending data approximately every 15 minutes to energy management software for analysis. Facilities professionals can then use that data analysis to identify utility savings and usage-reduction opportunities. Submetering can also help building owners and facilities managers:
- Obtain actual energy and other utility usage information (no estimations or guesses)
- Analyze the appropriate allocation of costs
- Measure and verify energy conservation programs and projects
- Receive immediate feedback on projects to improve building operations and utility usage
- Identify possible equipment failures and problems (equipment running at night, for example)
- Offer comparison and benchmarking across similar facilities in a portfolio and over time
- Detect errors in utility bills by comparing submeter data with the actual bill
Whether it’s owner-occupied or not, almost any commercial or institutional facility can benefit from a submetering strategy. Recently, the 30-story Hyatt Regency Houston decided to install a submetering system to measure energy savings from window film installation.
The hotel was having trouble keeping hotel rooms cool during the day; staff members were also receiving complaints from guests about warm temperatures. Before the hotel decided to invest in a new or upgraded HVAC system, staff members wanted to explore more cost-effective ways to address these issues.
To save energy, reduce HVAC loads, and increase guest comfort levels, the Hyatt Regency Houston decided to install window film in 48 southeast- and southwest-facing rooms. To measure heating and cooling savings, the hotel installed submetering to measures HVAC usage in the 48 rooms with window film, as well as in 48 southeast- and southwest-facing rooms without window film. The data from the submeters confirmed that window film installation reduced cooling energy use by 23%, and heating energy use by 25%. Without submetering, this data wouldn’t have been captured to prove that window film was a cost-effective, energy-saving investment that would provide a quick ROI.
By submetering critical loads, such as HVAC and plug loads, facilities professionals have access to data that will help uncover exactly what’s happening with building operations. And once problems are identified, steps can be implemented to reduce usage in necessary areas of the building or improve operations.
Have you implemented submetering in your facility? Has it helped you break down utility usage?