There’s and old saying that goes “you cannot manage what you don’t measure.”  This is usually connected to business management, but it easily translates to building energy costs.  If someone wants to reduce their energy usage, it is very helpful to know how much energy a building is using allowing them to identify problem areas.  Once improvements are made, it can help the owner see if they worked as expected.

Detailed building energy is typically measured using sub-metering.  While the power company’s meter keeps track of the total electricity usage, sub-meters can be put on major equipment or systems such as refrigerators, HVAC equipment, manufacturing equipment and lighting.  These sub-meters record the power draw for their individual equipment and let the building owner know how much of the energy usage “pie” it is taking up.  The downside to sub-metering is that it is typically expensive because it requires the installation of the sub-meters to work.  And because it costs more, you aren’t going to be putting meters on every item that uses electricity.

This Old House (One of my favorite shows) recently included an interesting clip of a new energy monitoring technology on their “Future House” segment.  This new equipment only requires a special sensor to be installed at the main electrical panel and very accurately records the power draw going into the home or business.  The makers of this technology found that every appliance, light or piece of equipment displays a unique power signal so it can record when something is on just by whether or not that signal is detected.  Here’s the full clip:

Once you are measuring, it’s time to manage.  You can use detailed data, like sub-metering provides, to identify appliances or equipment that are using large amounts of electricity.  Once identified, you can make changes to the building or equipment to reduce the usage and save money.  Forward Engineers can assist in measuring and managing your energy usage by completing a Small Business Energy Audit.  We will review your building and provide you with options for saving money. We’ll also review utility incentive programs to help cover the cost of the improvements. Our goal is to provide an affordable service that a business can use to reduce their energy costs. We are happy to work with you to find a solution that fits your budget. If you own or manage a building and are interested in an audit, please contact us today.