Picking Candidates for Submetering
mplementing an energy-conservation program that includes submetering technology is an exercise in identifying equipment and systems most likely to have the greatest potential for savings. Some opportunities are obvious, such as central chillers and pumping systems. Others are not and vary based on the operations conducted within the facility and the types of equipment and systems installed. But managers can examine general categories of equipment for opportunities.
In educational facilities, potential targets for submetering include heating and air conditioning systems, pumps, lighting, food service, and research equipment. In commercial spaces, targets include these same items, as well as specialized equipment that supports the operation of tenants. The same goes for health care facilities, in addition to specialized medical diagnostic equipment, and air and vacuum systems.
Managers can work with front-line technicians and building occupants to identify energy-using equipment and systems that are promising candidates for submetering. Managers then need to prioritize the list based on such factors as total energy use and the potential for savings. Systems with known operating or efficiency issues should rank high.
Managers also can start a pilot program with one or more of the highest-ranked systems, using data generated by submeters to quantify the successes and to promote expansion of the program. But the primary benefit of a submetering program is information, and the process is not an install-and-forget operation. To be effective, managers must compile the information and review it regularly in order to make decisions that curtail facilities' energy costs.
— James Piper, P.E.