It costs an enormous amount of money to control and monitor the temperature in every large building, school, hospital, college and office block and with metering now becoming part of the controls package (with no increase in monies), with limited resources, the current financial constraints – it makes sense to control first and meter later. If you control correctly your buildings heating and energy usage rather than purchase and install meters at day one to read the usage and wastage you will potentially make major savings from day one.
You know your building, you know what is used for, when it is occupied, what times it needs to be warm, what time it needs to be cool, when to heat it and when not to heat it. A meter won’t improve your knowledge it will only confirm what you already know. But an efficient Building Management Control System will allow you to take control of your buildings energy usage reducing your buildings operating costs.
Why spend valuable time, resource, money and effort installing and monitoring energy meters in your building, when all they will do is prove what you already know… you are using energy inefficiently. It makes more sense to install sensors and control systems that will improve your energy usage saving you both time and money. With a little bit of ingenuity a lot can be found out from your existing sensors without installing metering. Once you have a good control system in place you can then consider additional ways to make savings and decide whether a meter will achieve enough savings to justify its installation and monitoring.
With a well-planned and efficient control routine, it is surprising how many problems can be identified and remedied easily without the additional need to install expensive monitoring and metering equipment… that only tells you what you already knew.
The heating control of compensating radiator temperature is widely used, we warm a building using a compensation curve to the desired temperature – but rarely is the same thinking applied to air conditioning cooling equipment in the summer time when equipment continues to cool down to a fixed temperature set point irrespective of the outside temperature. How many times have you been in a restaurant or department store in the summer time and found it uncomfortably cold? Leaving you shivering and deciding to leave quickly. Where is the summer/winter set point control? All this inefficient and expensive energy wastage can be managed and controlled with a building control system, using existing room sensors and controls.
How often do we find heating and cooling systems operating at the same time, battling against each other to create a desired temperature when simple control interlocks could stop this happening?
It is possible with the use of a simple control strategy and what/if control algorithms to identify if an item of plant that is operating unnecessarily out of hours, wasting energy and money.
An example being a school boiler that should be time controlled, but if the pipework is still warm sometime after it should have cooled down an alarm can be raised and an investigation carried out to discover the cause – probably the boiler being left in hand operation, heating the school building when it is empty. This is achieved with a little software writing, and with the sensor(s)that are in place, the problem can be identified and rectified more quickly than using meter data (which won’t identify the problem immediately, it will just confirm it exists over time), saving time, energy and the cost of additional metering equipment.
It is our responsibility to provide comfortable working conditions and an acceptable environment in the buildings we operate or own in the most economical way possible – so control first – meter later!