Electric Submeters Help Phoenix Facility Managers Save Energy and Lower Costs-Buildings AZ Magazine

The type of energy data needed by today’s sophisticated facility is beyond the capability of the master utility meter, which provides a broad indication of consumption (kWh) and demand (kW), but not the level of load profiling needed by facility owners and operators to:
  • Allocate energy costs to specific lease spaces, circuits or buildings;
  • Profile entire facility for demand management, load shedding and energy initiative compliance;
  • Aggregate energy demand/use for bulk energy contracts in deregulated markets;
  • Implement demand response/control to avoid costly ratchet charges;
  • Cost allocation; tenant billing, equipment performance diagnostics and more.

As first-level data gathering tools in the facility load-profiling process, submeters provide highly accurate 15- or 30-minute snapshots of energy use and demand—from the enterprise level all the way down to a specific circuit or item of equipment. Submeters are an easily installed, versatile and scalable solution for obtaining the degree of energy intelligence needed to optimize today’s facility operations—no matter what type of facility needs monitoring. Following are just two examples of how Arizona buildings are using submeters to save energy, cut cost, improve facility operations and reduce pressure on the bottom line.

Commercial Office High-Rise

The electrical submetering system at Phoenix Plaza is helping building managers more accurately track and bill energy use in this 21- story twin tower office complex in midtownm Phoenix. Housing 34 different tenants, a retail center and a parking garage, the submetering project was motivated by the need to more fairly bill the tenants who, before the installation, paid for energy according to a flat cost-persquare- foot rate. Tenants that exceeded their preset energy baseline caused the cost differential to be unfairly distributed to other tenants. Some computer-intensive tenants routinely exceeded their allotted energy use through extended business hours or by having more people or equipment than was recommended for the lease space.

In operation, current sensors on each floor send energy consumption data to the facility’s engineering office, where it is collected and recorded by 80 submeters installed in four, eight-meter multiple meter units (MMU) and two, 25-meter MMUs. The meter data is communicated to a PC,where automatic meter reading software analyzes the data and prepares the monthly billing statements for each tenant.

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