Is Your Building Energy Data Accurate? Are You Sure?
Believing That The Energy & Operational Data From Your Building Systems Are Correct... Can Get You Into Trouble
By David Harroun - utiliVisor Chief Technology Officer
The Problem: Quality data is not guaranteed.
- There’s a misconception that building automation, controls, and management systems create quality data. These systems require accuracy in instrumentation and setup parameters to perform their intended tasks. Providing quality data happens when instruments are regularly commissioned and setup parameters continually checked.
- Most building systems lack accurate energy submetering. Traditionally, submetering is an add-on to building and facility systems instead of being integral to their energy management capabilities. Submetering is a necessity in achieving long-term energy savings – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. There is a breadth of expertise necessary: btu, electric, fuel oil, gas, steam, water – which makes this challenging.
- There’s a lack of on-sight practical “energy systems” knowledge of your buildings. Effective energy savings requires a practical understanding of your building’s energy devices and flows as well as the competence to validate and understand the building operations as a whole. This breadth and depth of energy operations expertise are difficult to find and why a software program is not enough.
- Energy costs are disconnected from energy operations. Your building’s energy operations are reflected on your utility bill(s). The true cost of energy, your utility bill(s), need to be validated against your energy operations data.
- Do your building systems, especially energy dashboards, estimate energy costs, or know utility rates?
- Can you match your energy utility bills to your energy operations data?
Building Automation, Controls and Management Systems, and Their Vendors Don’t Create Quality Data.
- Systems are rarely commissioned correctly.
- Limited controls and systems expertise, combined with the lack of installation coordination leads to inaccuracies.
Why “bolted on” self-controlling automation and controls are turned off in most buildings?
- Bolt on controls/systems is placed on top of existing systems to “add energy savings” to already existing controls; this creates a real mess.
- At some point the building changes and the “bolt-on” becomes obsolete.
Why Is Energy Submetering So Difficult To Do Right All The Time?
- There is a breadth of expertise necessary: btu, electric, fuel oil, gas, steam, water. There’s also a depth of knowledge needed: flow sensing, electric cts & pts, levels sensing…
- Energy submetering measures “after the building action” demands, flows and usage. Any changes in building actions must be reflected and validated in the submetering. Less accurate energy submetering data results because building experts rarely have time to do this.
The Solution: Quality Data In The Hands of Experts
What’s required to drive building occupants and machines to only use the energy they need? Quality and understood energy data.
- Real-world understanding of energy consuming devices and the systems they serve.
- Accurate energy metrics – not only temperatures and status. Energy metrics must include submeters to identify specific energy actions associated with electricity, gas, fuel oil, chilled water, hot water, domestic water, and sewer.
- Regular ability to audit and understand utility bill(s) including rates, tariffs and taxes.
- Energy information reporting that connects energy consuming occupants and devices to their portion of the utility bills.
- In your face presence with confirmed facts and actionable recommendations.
To continually use only the building energy needed involves some technology but more importantly, requires quality data in the hands of experts who understand your building. Quality data comes from focused, skilled, and multi-disciplined resources with the right tools and procedures.