Data analytics solutions are enabling teams to monitor and manage electrical and thermal plant equipment more efficiently and affordably than with physical submetering.
Recently the demand for sub-metering has exploded, with commercial buildings in Australia and the USA bristling with anything from twenty to hundreds of sub meters per building. In Australia, this has largely been driven by NABERS and Green Star ratings and the need to Measure and Verify energy conservation measures, particularly where energy services companies are guaranteeing savings.
Meters alone, however, don’t save any energy at all. It’s what one does with the information they produce that matters. In terms of operational energy management, meter data is of little value unless it is systematically used to identify opportunities for improvement and drive positive change. Compounding this problem is the fact that sub-meter data alone is often not granular enough to identify the root cause of energy performance related issues or uncover opportunities for optimization.
Sub-meters typically measure grouped loads fed from main electrical and mechanical switchboards so the energy profiles from several items of equipment are amalgamated. Normalisation techniques can be applied to highlight peaks and troughs in energy consumption and demand; however an investigation is often required to identify the equipment responsible for an anomaly and the root cause. Facilities teams are already stretched and have very little time to investigate issues.
In an ideal world, we would have full transparency into the energy performance of significant end-use loads, in real-time. This would enable energy management by exception where facilities teams would be immediately notified of an anomaly and the specific item of equipment to which it relates. This would significantly boost the productivity of facilities teams, decrease downtime and help to minimise energy waste. But how can this be achieved without installing costly sub-meters on end-use equipment?
Software Metering Solutions
A 'SoftMeter', exclusive to Envizi, is a software-derived energy meter for electrical motors and thermal plant that combines equipment performance specifications with actual operating data from Building Management Systems (BMS) to calculate energy demand and consumption in real-time. Results show a high degree of accuracy can be achieved for a fraction of the cost of sub-metering. Soft Meters, combined with Envizi’s Equipment Fault Detection (EFD) technology, are changing the way energy is being managed in both low and high performing buildings.