smart meter up close

Collecting & using data from the submeters in your buildings can be a manual process, but it doesn’t have to be. Once you have decided what you want to submeter, have chosen your submeters and have them in place, all that’s left to do is start collect the data.

However, the standard process in many buildings is for a member of the building staff to walk around with a clipboard and write down the numbers shown on the meter. This is a time-consuming, manual process often error-prone. The clipboard data is then passed along to other staff members who must interpret the numbers and account for rollovers and multipliers. There are much better, more efficient ways to collect and use the submeter data from your buildings.

Use a Software Solution:

Fortunately, the process listed above isn’t the only option. Many submeters have a pulse output (which represent a Kilowatt of electricity or gallon of water, depending on what the meter is being used for), which can be collected as data. This data can be interpreted by software solutions like Genea’s Submeter Billing Service, which then produces consumption graphics and tenant bills.

Use your Smart Meter’s Abilities

If you building has newer, smart meters installed (i.e. the Dent PowerScout, Triacta, or Emon Dmon Class 3400), it’s likely they use BACnet or Modbus instead of pulses to send data. This is a more reliable and granular way to collect data.

Use Data from Utility Companies & your EMS System

It’s typical for utility companies to provide interval consumption data on a daily basis, which can be useful for month-over-month comparison. However, it is not as useful as real-time data which can be collected by most modern EMS systems. This data can be collected as granularly as every minute, and is useful for alerting the building team to spikes and anomalies.

How to Use Your Data

Once you have the data, you can use it in a variety of ways. The simplest way to represent your data is with a basic energy curve representing a time interval (like a day or a month). Common uses of submetered data includes producing bills for tenants, calculating internal costs, and assisting in budgeting.

However, data collected from submeters can also be used to monitor equipment efficiency and fault detection. For example, a property team may be able to identity that while a chiller works harder on a hot day, it’s still running efficiently. Or perhaps data tracks show that an Air Handling Unit (AHU) starts to consume more energy to produce the same amount of air. This might indicate a problem with the unit, like a dirty filter or a bearing starting to wear.

It’s clear that the usefulness of submeters and the data they provide is huge. As metering devices continue to improve and become more affordable, the possibilities of use continue to grow. Combined with the advances in building Artificial Intelligence (AI), meters and submeters will be able to proactively target equipment maintenance and repair needs, even performing control algorithm tuning in real-time.

For any remaining questions, please feel free to reach out. A member of our team can walk you through a demo or answer any questions related to submetering.

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