Submetering Project Saves Energy and Money at San Diego Convention Center
Imagine the electricity bill for a seven-city-block long, 2.6 million square foot, state-of-the-art complex. or if that's too much, just try to think of the cost of energy for a kitchen, a 25,000 square foot kitchen.
The completed $216M expansion project added yet more of a strain on the San Diego Convention Center's astronomical electrical bill. In a conversation between Ron Barham, the convention center's operational manager, and Dave Holland, Pacific Wholesale Electric (an E-Mon submetering distributor), the subject of power monitoring came up. The convention center wanted the ability to figure out how much energy is used for a particular event and the ability to record any power quality disruptions.
Holland decided to set up a meeting between Barham and E-Mon. After reviewing the number of service sections and other requirements, E-Mon created a proposal for metering the convention center.
"The San Diego Convention Center has two major needs-one was the ability to document power quality events and the other was to do cost analysis for various events at the convention center," said E-Mon's regional manager. "They chose E-Mon because of the ease of use of our software package and the low installation costs."
The submetering system was selected because it would allow facility engineers to monitor, record and report energy usage as a tool for conserving energy and for lowering overhead costs.
The facility's main electrical service entrances are located in two large sub-level electrical vaults, where multiple (480V) 1600 and 3200 Amp loads are individually submetered. An IDR data accumulator module in each vault accumulates pulse outputs from the five submeters in the west vault and four in the east. The IDR then digitizes the data and transmits it via RS-485 communications link some 1,600 feet to the laptop PC in Barham's office.
"Thanks to real-time energy metering capability, we're able to look at our energy consumption and make load adjustments in real time to avoid additional ratcheting charges, thus saving energy dollars," Barham said.
Currently, nine of the eleven meters in the Convention Center complex are submetered with E-Mon equipment, with the remaining two meters slated for retrofit. The San Diego Convention Center has been voted twice the number three facility of its type in the world.
"Business decisions are easy to justify if they have a positive impact on the product we deliver to our guests," Barham added. "The whole point of the exercise was to better understand how and when our energy was being used, to utilize our resources better and to offer a superior product to our guests."
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