Electric Submeters Put 2001 Super Bowl Champs 'On The Offense'
It took the promise of a new football stadium to lure the NFL back to Baltimore after the city's beloved Colts defected to Indianapolis in the eighties. So when team owner Art Modell moved his team to Maryland in 1996, the Maryland Stadium Authority started construction on Ravens Stadium, a 69,000-seat state-of-the-art downtown arena next to Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Since its first sold-out season, the new Ravens football stadium has gotten rave reviews for its design and amenities. Yet all those heated benches and sideline-cooling fans came at a high price-so high, in fact, that it quickly became apparent that a game plan for energy conservation would be needed to tackle their skyrocketing power bills.
While not as exciting as a Super Bowl championship, energy monitoring, submetering and conservation have become an area of great concern to the Ravens. That's because, in exchange for free rent, no lease terms, and all concession, parking and suite revenues, the team picks up the stadium's $5M annual operating and maintenance bill. And while huge crowds bring big revenues, it also means big-time operating expenses, especially power usage.
Stadium Power Consumption
Where does all the power go in a stadium during a football game? how about 62 over-sized bathrooms, 245 food and beverage concessionaires, sports lighting equipment, scoreboards, 108 private suites, air handlers, parking lot lighting, security systems, kitchen power and more. plus, the stadium shares its power plant with Oriole Park. Between the two, energy usage represents roughly 20 percent of the overall budget of the building owner/manager, the Maryland Stadium Authority.
"It became very obvious that we had more power usage in the stadium than we first anticipated," says Sherman Kerbel, director of facilities management. "Yet, when we did simple things like turning the lights off, it didn't make a difference. So we figured, 'a-ha, something else is happening here that we're not seeing.' So we put some meters on things to find out what's going on where."
Director Kerbel's efforts to reduce power usage wherever possible to quickly lower energy costs led him to evaluate the strategy already in use at neighboring Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Because energy submeters from E-Mon of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, had already proven their reliability in metering the baseball stadium, Kerbel decided to install them at Ravens Stadium. More than 40 E-Mon D-Mon submeters were soon installed throughout the 1.6 million square-foot arena to measure energy in all its forms, whether gas, water or electric. These individual meters were strategically placed to track specific energy usage at various locations in the stadium, including the sports lighting, upper and lower suite power, suite kitchen power, decorative lighting, kitchen power, air handlers, scoreboard, press level power, hospitality village and the parking lot lighting. Phase II of the project, to be initiated in the near future, will involve tenant metering to accurately allocate and bill energy costs to individual users.
Comprehensive Energy Profiling
Advanced submetering equipment and software is increasingly used in all types of facilities to monitor energy via comprehensive energy profiling-information needed to determine a building's energy demand and usage levels. The information garnered from precise tracking of electrical demand (kW) and usage (kWh) is used for peak shaving, load shedding, aggregation and other measures, that lead to lowered energy bills. E-Mon's split-core current sensors are installed around the electrical feeds being monitored. The measured data is collected by the submeter, which may be located up to 2,000 feet from the current sensors. The data is accumulated by an interface device that digitizes the data and relays it via modem to a centralized computer for analysis.
By measuring energy usage at different points-and at different times-the submeters installed in the Ravens stadium were able to track how the facility's energy was specifically distributed and consumed. E-Mon Energy software then allowed Kerbel to display this raw metering information on a windows-based PC, so that he could "see" where additional conservation measures might also be needed.
Since installing his submetering system, Kerbel has a much clearer profile of how well his energy conservation program is working. At Ravens Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards, most of the energy savings - estimated to be around 10 to 15 percent, or $500,000 to $750,000 per year - have been the result of peak shaving, load shedding, aggregation and other benefits accruing from having a 3.6MW power plant on site. Massive diesel electric generators powering both the football stadium and neighboring Oriole Park relieve much stress on the city's electric grid during events at either park. And it's the automatic meter reading system that gives energy managers at the Maryland Stadium Authority the tool they need to make these critical energy management decisions.
Scoring One for the Bottom Line
Kerbel is pleased with the E-Mon D-Mon submeters and software, adding, "We're not as finely metered yet as we want to be. Some of the meters are reading gross numbers, and we need to go back in and add more meters to read particular areas better. But we knew that from the start, because you don't know where you need more meters until you put in the basics. We will be adding more meters shortly."
With meters throughout the stadium, Kerbel has definitely scored in his efforts to implement an effective energy management system. Even if the Ravens don't make the cut for the next Super Bowl-something no one in Baltimore is willing to even consider - the team's forward-thinking energy monitoring and conservation strategy has already put a big check mark in the win column for the Baltimore Ravens' bottom line.
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