New reports urges more detailed utility metering to improve building efficiency

Nov 09, 2011 By Mark Bello

A new interagency report recommends systematic consideration of new metering technologies, called submetering, that can yield up-to-date, finely grained snapshots of energy and water usage in commercial and residential buildings to guide efficiency improvements and capture the advantages of a modernized electric power grid.

Commercial and consume vast amounts of , water, and material resources. In fact, U.S. buildings account for more than 40 percent of total U.S. , including 72 percent of electricity use. If current trends continue, buildings worldwide will be the largest consumer of by 2025. By 2050, buildings are likely to use as much energy as the transportation and industrial sectors combined.

Submetering is the use of metering devices to measure actual energy or at points downstream from the primary utility meter on a campus or building. Submetering allows building owners to monitor energy or for individual tenants, departments, pieces of equipment or other loads to account for their specific usage. Submetering technologies enable building owners to optimize design and retrofit strategies to energy and procedures more efficient and effective.

While the return on investment (ROI) for submeters depends on specific energy-efficiency strategies that may vary by climate, building type, and other factors, "numerous case studies provide evidence that the ROI can be significant,” concludes the report,Submetering of Building Energy and Water Usage: Analysis and Recommendations of the Subcommittee on Buildings Technology Research and Development. Installing submetering technology also makes possible the use of more advanced conservation technologies in the future, the report notes.

The report is a product of the Buildings Technology Research and Development Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), a cabinet-level council that is the principal means within the executive branch to coordinate science and technology policy across the diverse entities that make up the federal research and development enterprise.

The NSTC report provides an overview of the key elements of submetering and associated energy management systems to foster understanding of associated benefits and complexities. It documents the current state of submetering and provides relevant case studies and preliminary findings relating to submetering system costs and ROI. The report also addresses gaps, challenges and barriers to widespread acceptance along with descriptive candidate areas where additional development or progress is required. It also surveys policy options for changing current buildings-sector practices.

Explore further: Matched 'hybrid' systems may hold key to wider use of renewable energy

More information: The 74-page report can be downloaded from: www.bfrl.nist.gov/buildingtech… aterUsageOct2011.pdf .

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Restaurants could cut energy use in half, report says

Oct 14, 2010

Coffee shops and fast-food eateries could reduce their energy use more than 50 percent with ultra-efficient appliances, lights and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and other integrated design ...

Energy efficiency technologies offer major savings

Dec 09, 2009

Energy efficiency technologies that exist today or that are likely to be developed in the near future could save considerable money as well as energy, says a new report from the National Research Council. Fully adopting ...

Recommended for you

Are electric cars greener? Depends on where you live

Nov 25, 2014

Long thought a thing of the future, electric cars are becoming mainstream. Sales in the United States of plug-in, electric vehicles nearly doubled last year. Credible forecasts see the number rising within ...

Building a better battery

Nov 25, 2014

Imagine an electric car with the range of a Tesla Model S - 265 miles - but at one-fifth the $70,000 price of the luxury sedan. Or a battery able to provide many times more energy than today's technology ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rwinners
not rated yet Nov 09, 2011
Ah, big brother is going to be monitoring our dish washers and cloths dryers.
Crap.
Attempting to manage energy use on such a microscopic level is a sure path to a massive disequilibrium.
A plentiful supply of power is much preferred.
BlueBomber
not rated yet Nov 10, 2011
Yes, we should definitely throw more electricity at the problem, what could go wrong! Besides the grid...

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.