Metering provides the information that when analyzed allows the building operations staff to make informed decisions on how to best operate mechanical/electrical systems and equipment. These decisions will ultimately affect energy costs, equipment costs, and overall building performance. Metering can take place at a variety of points within an electrical or mechanical system and can encompass the collection of electricity, natural gas, water, steam, or other fluid data. The decision of where and what to meter is determined by your metering objectives and should be determined in your metering plan. While metering at the end-use or circuit level has application and will be described, our focus will center on higher-level, whole-building utility metering.
At the outset, it should be noted that metering in-and-of-itself saves no energy or dollars. In fact, it costs money to meter - the purchase and installation of the metering, the communications or meter-reading expense, and the time necessary to process and interpret data. A metering program can be a costly and time-consuming endeavor. The key to a successful metering program lies in the ability to make use of the output of a meter. Metered data needs to be converted to information from where actions and projects are developed and implemented.
There are many potential applications for metered data. Reasons to meter will vary by site, with some general examples listed below.