Top 7 Reasons for prioritising monitoring and verification as part of energy management

26 Oct 2010Archived News Climate Change Matters


Increasingly, Energetics' clients have expressed a need to independently verify their energy performance, particularly where they operate a number of sites. This need has arisen because of a number of market and regulatory drivers that demand greater accuracy in understanding energy usage.

This article will outline what monitoring and verification involves, the organisations that should consider undertaking such a program, and some of the challenges that need to be assessed when designing and implementing an energy monitoring and verification program.

What is Monitoring and Verification?

A monitoring and verification program allows organisations to independently measure the daily energy performance of their sites against a temperature (or other variable) adjusted baseline.

There is an increasing need to normalise energy data for variations in weather. An example of this would be during summer where energy savings anticipated from an energy saving project may be lost due to the increased need to cool a building. With monitoring and verification, the same weather data could be applied energy bills prior and post the energy saving project. In doing this, there would be no distortion due to extreme weather.

Another circumstance in which an organisation may need to normalise energy data could be schools or universities which may want to normalise for the school calendar. Similarly shopping centres, hotels and prisons can normalise data to reflect occupancy levels. To normalise energy data, any variable can be used provided it is an accurate, consistent predictor of energy usage patterns.

Top 7 Reasons to undertake Monitoring and Verification

There are a number of market and regulatory drivers that support the business case to invest in a service that ensures accurate energy data.

Organisations which should consider energy monitoring and verification, are those which:
1. Have individual sites with more than $100k energy use per annum;
2. Have a positive investment in energy efficiency and are keen to verify their return on investment in energy efficiency measures;
3. Invest in NABERS and realise the inherent inadequacy of current measuring tools around corrections for temperature, as a NABERS rating does not allow for ongoing ambient temperature correction. This is particularly significant if you are using NABERS ratings as your corporate external performance measure.
4. Public-Private Partnership service providers who have a contractual obligation for energy volumes per annum over a period of more than 20 years;
5. Large complex, multi-site organisations, such as retailers, commercial property and shopping centre owners;
6. Organisations which need to determine their carbon footprint, and
7. Organisations that are advanced in their climate change and sustainability journey.

Considerations when planning a Monitoring and Verification Program

Expert guidance should be sought when undertaking Monitoring and Verification, for the following reasons:

  • Verification should actually precede measurement. If we consider an example such as the retrofit of a commercial building, the verification work is the physical examination of the retrofit project to confirm that the savings are possible. Measurement, on the other hand, determines the savings (or the costs avoided) arising from the retrofit.
  • Sound baseline information is needed, and all metering points need to be identified and mapped.
  • It is important to identify any failures of new or existing equipment that the operators may not be aware of, that result in a change in building operations and energy use.
  • Change in usage and occupancy needs to be understood and documented.
  • Additions to and demolitions of occupied space need to be accounted for, and
  • Instances of sabotage need to be identified.

Energetics' Monitoring and Verification Service

The Monitoring and Verification service offered by Energetics includes the following:

  • Energy modelling of site/energy meters against energy impact variables, such as temperature and operating hours, and the determination of regression equations and balance points.
  • Setup for the provision of daily data, such as energy interval data, Bureau of Meteorology data and operating hours.
  • Web-accessed dashboard, scorecards and performance reports through user access logins.
  • Email alarming if energy usage exceeds targets, and
  • Scheduling of performance reports (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.)
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