Sub-metering is important but has its own challenges and is not the only way forward. We advocate the following high-level analysis of existing site data to make the process as efficient and smooth as possible.
SSE’s recently launched Energy Optimal benchmarking tool uniquely combines building benchmarking data with the energy optimisation standard ISO52120 to estimate a grade of quality of control in each building. This will give an initial scale of energy reduction that could be possible for each site and the potential return on investment for improvements. This service is offered free of charge if you are happy to provide the data.
The second step would be to get authority from you to access your half-hourly gas and electricity data from your utility supplier. On getting access to this data, it would be imported into the cloud-based SSE Building Energy Intelligence (BEI) platform to finalise the priority buildings and to give another level of analysis. This service would include the basic functionality of BEI and would be offered free of charge for the first 6 months. This analysis would identify particular projects to target.
The next step would be a paid-for site assessment based on the ISO 52120 International Standard. The output of this would be to apply a grading to the current building control and to identify actions that could be carried out to improve the grading. The improvements would highlight savings in energy, carbon and cost that are defined in the Standard.
Having thus developed a full understanding of the issues on the site(s) and tangible improvements to make savings with an identified return on investment, you will start to see energy reductions that, on implementation would start to cover the costs.
SSE has access to several funding options that can be used to cover the initial costs, with the reduction in energy costs being used to cover the ongoing repayments. This changes the investment from a capital cost to an operational one which may be more interesting to your organisation.
Once the improvements have been put in place, or concurrent with improvement investments, we could start to implement sub-metering to look for the next level of energy improvements. One option at this point would be to extend the use of BEI to incorporate the data from the sub-meters and use its more in-depth energy analysis tools.
With a traditional approach of implementing extra metering, i.e. gathering data and then identifying improvements, energy savings are not possible until all of this is in place. This can be anything from 6 months to a year from starting the programme. It means applying meters to all of the buildings rather than targeting the worst offenders first.
The benefit of the SSE approach is that from an early stage, the priority buildings can be identified and the potential savings/investment can be calculated. Instead of waiting to gather several months’ worth of data to identify improvements, by using the ISO52120 standard we can already identify changes and quantify the benefits that the changes will bring.