Submetering FAQs

What is Submetering?

Submetering is the installation of metering devices to measure actual energy consumption after the primary utility energy meter. Submetering allows you to monitor energy usage for individual tenants, departments, pieces of equipment or other loads individually to account for their actual energy usage.

Why should I Submeter?

Increasing energy costs are frequently the largest variable expense for commercial, industrial, institutional and multi-family facilities. The installation of submeters provides a variety of benefits to the building owner as well as the tenants:

  • Record actual energy usage (no estimation)

  • Analytical tool for allocating costs to tenants, departments, CAM

  • Analytical tool for energy management

  • Compliance with green building initiatives

  • Measurement & verification of energy conservation programs

What are the Benefits of Submetering?

There are a variety of benefits including:

  • Accurate energy monitoring
  • Provides actual usage data eliminating the need for square foot estimates
  • Submeters are accurate and certified to meet/exceed national accuracy standards
  • Concise energy management tool. Submetering easily ties into building/energy management systems to provide detailed energy data giving users maximum control over their energy usage. Remote monitoring by Automatic Meter Reading system acts as a "watchdog" to keep an eye on performance, the bottom line is that maximum control = maximum savings and submetering provides the tools necessary for maximum control
  • Promotes energy savings. You can't manage what you don't monitor-it is impossible to effectively manage energy without first knowing exactly how, when and where it is used. Accurate knowledge of where energy is being used is the first step to create a savings program while constant monitoring allows the user to gauge the ongoing effectiveness of the building's energy savings programs. If users are billed for their actually energy consumption and average decrease of 10-20% can be achieved.
  • Positive environmental inpact. Every kilowatt-hour of electrical energy saved reduces pollution by 1.5 lbs carbon dioxide (CO2), 5.8 grams sulpher dioxide (SO2) and 2.5 grams nitrous oxide (NOx).
  • Ease of use & flexible installation. Compact meters install in practically any available space and can monitor any size circuit from main distribution to a single branch circuit. E-Mon's split-core current sensors allow installation without "cutting" into existing building wiring.
  • Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) allows reading of meters at any time, day or night in any weather condition, from anywhere in the world via your PC.

How do I Actually Submeter My Building?

Submetering can be as simple or as complex as your application requires. You can install one meter, add meters later and also upgrade to a complete metering system. A basic submetering project includes:

  1. Outlining loads/tenants to be monitored.
  2. Contacting a local electrical contractor to order and install your submeters on the loads specified.
  3. Reading meters and allocating costs to tenants, departments, equipment, common areas or other loads.
  4. For a more advanced system you can interface with AMR (Automatic Metering Software) for automated bill generation as well as creating energy usage charts and graphs to support energy conservation/load management efforts.

Is Submetering Illegal?

As of this posting, there is no federal law against submetering. Utilities, however, do have the legal right to forbid their customers from buying energy and re-selling it at a profit.

A landlord has the legal right to ask his tenants to pay for the energy they use, as long as the landlord does not charge the tenants more than the energy actually costs. The landlord may estimate the tenant usage based on a square foot calculation or other method, but the only accurate method is by the use of submetering equipment.

What Utilities Can I Submeter?

All utilities can be submetered. E-Mon manufacturers a complete line of electrical submetering products and has a complete portfolio of third-party products for monitoring electric, water, gas, BTU, etc.

My building is already constructed, can I still install submeters?

Absolutely! E-Mon D-Mon meters are ideal for either new or retrofit applications. E-Mon meters are supplied with split-core current sensors so that they can be installed around load wires without interrupting power.

In a tenant situation, many building owners add meters as leases are renewed and build submetering into the new leases.

The flexibility in installation of E-Mon meters lets you build and expand your system as your business grows.

Everyone is talking about "Going Green" what does that mean and how does submetering support green efforts?

"Going Green" includes a variety of programs and initiatives to reduce energy and support the environment. Submetering is an inherently green product as it promotes energy awareness and energy conservation for building owners as well as energy users.

Green building initiatives including LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) promotes energy conservation by certifying buildings that meet minimum energy conservation standards.

EPACT (Energy Policy Act) 2005 also supports green building initiatives at the government level. This act requires all federal buildings to be metered or submetered and meet federal energy efficiency standards. This also supports a tax deduction for energy efficient buildings.

What is Tenant Billing & Cost Allocation?

Tenant Billing consists of installing energy submeters on each tenant space and allocating actual energy costs back to individual tenants. Basically, you're billing tenants for the energy they actually use instead of estimating or including energy costs in leases. By holding tenants accountable for their usage you may see an overall reduction of energy costs for the facility as users tend to reduce their usage if they are held accountable for it.

Cost allocation consists of installing energy submeters on specific areas within a facility and "billing back" for actual energy usage. Allocated costs may be billed to departments, buildings, common areas (CAM) or pieces of equipment. Cost allocation allows users to accurately evaluate energy usage to implement cost saving and energy conservation measures.

What is Measurement & Verification (M & V)?

Measurement & Verification in relation to submetering means monitoring energy consumption before and after energy saving programs or equipment have been installed to confirm that there is a reduction in usage, cost, etc. Ongoing usage tracking and verification also compare actual performance to baseline performance expectations. Measurement & Verification also includes "watchdog" measures that flag unexpected energy usage variations including failing equipment or changes due to newly installed equipment.

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