November 2009

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New Energy Initiatives Energize Submeter Deployment
The myriad of public and private sector energy policies, while at times complicated, provides fertile ground for submeters as energy profilers and program verification tools. This article briefly overviews several key policies now in effect, with an eye to how submeters can help facility professionals comply with the appropriate guidelines.

Don Millstein


Don Millstein
President and CEO
E-Mon, LLC

According to Defense Department figures, the DOD’s more than 620,000 buildings on 400 installations around the country consume over $2.5B worth of energy every year. As the nation’s single largest energy consumer, the DOD represents 78% of all Federal sector energy use and a significant consumer in many areas of the country. Because of this, the government is keenly aware of the need to not only conserve energy, but to invest in reduction measures that make good business sense while, at the same time, contributing to readiness and modernization.

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Submeter Family

Facility operators are discovering the value of submeters for accurate metering of electrical usage and demand for tenant cost allocation and billing, energy management, load shedding and verifying compliance with EPAct, LEED and other public and private-sector energy initiatives.

This is only one example of why, in response to rising energy costs and tightening budgets, the last few years have seen a raft of new public and private-sector energy policy initiatives designed to micro-manage existing resources, reduce greenhouse gases and encourage, whenever possible, the move toward renewable, non-fossil fuel energy sources. Although similarities exist in many of these programs, the common thread in all of them is the clear need for advanced submetering hardware and automatic meter reading (AMR) software solutions to cost-effectively benchmark, measure and verify compliance with whatever program guidelines the facility is pursuing.

Survey of Leading Energy Initiatives

Following are a dozen of the leading energy initiatives now impacting the industrial, commercial, institutional and multi-family facility landscape. It is easy to see how submetering solutions from leading suppliers like E-Mon—readily available through most electrical wholesalers and distributors—can directly facilitate compliance with these policies in specific application areas.

1. As the name implies, Demand Response programs allow utilities and consumers to manage electrical demand, measured in kilowatts or kW, in response to supply conditions. For example, by reducing consumption (kilowatt hours or kWh) in times of high prices or limited supply, pressure is relieved from the grid which keeps costs down. Many utilities provide incentives for users to voluntarily curtail their demand by monitoring their electrical usage and shaving peaks to provide a flatter energy profile. Submeters are effective in Demand Response scenarios, due to their ability to track kW and kWh for the purpose of shedding load, for verifying compliance with program regulations and other functions. Time-of-use (TOU) or real-time metering is especially useful where tariffs are tiered according to on-peak, mid-peak and off-peak schedules.

2. Revised in November 2005, DOD Instruction 4170.11 provides a comprehensive guideline for energy management practices in all DOD components and facilities. Compliance with all relevant Executive Orders and Federal energy conservation requirements is mandated, including EPAct 2005, ENERGY STAR, LEED, etc. Section Metering mandates application of meters and/or submeters in all appropriate facilities. Also outlined are several electrical load reduction measures that all installations can implement, including energy management control systems (EMCS), submetering and duty-cycling HVAC systems during power emergencies, to name a few examples. By mandate, meters with interval data recording and remote reading capabilities will be installed in all new construction by 2012, along with the metering of natural gas and water.

Submeter to PanelWhether designed in or retrofitted, submeters are installed on the “building side” of the main utility meter to measure energy usage from the enterprise level all the way down to a single device or circuit panel, as shown above. Sold through distribution, electric submeters are easily integrated with water, gas and other pulse-output utility meters, and energy intelligence software, to provide a total facility energy snapshot.

3. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) contains several sections pertaining specifically to metering. An extremely useful ancillary document (available online) is the DOE’s February 3, 2006 “Guidance for Electric Metering in Federal Buildings.” This publication provides a very useful and detailed overview of submetering applications, features, benefits, system issues and much more. The submeter-specific policy areas of EPAct 2005 include:

• Section 103—all Federal buildings must be metered by 2012;
• Section 1251—net metering;
• Section 1331—$1.80 per square foot tax deduction for the design and construction of energy-efficient buildings. Note: Originally slated to expire at the end of 2008, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (H.R. 1424) extended the “Energy-Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction” to December 31, 2013, per Section 303.)

4. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007) is an omnibus energy policy designed to strengthen existing energy reduction goals and energy management requirements not only in government buildings, but throughout business and industry, as outlined in Title IV, Subtitles A-G. Section 543 states that energy consumption per gross square foot of Federal buildings shall be reduced—compared to 2003 levels—from 2% in fiscal 2006 to 30% in FY 2015. Section 434(b) further states that by not later than October 1, 2016 each agency shall provide for equivalent metering of natural gas and steam, in accordance with established guidelines. For facility professionals, this is easily and inexpensively accomplished, since advanced metering products from E-Mon and others, provide an easy, economical way to interface existing water, gas, steam and other pulse-output utility meters into the AMR system—including inexpensively upgrading them to wireless capability.

5. Introduced in 1992, the joint EPA/DOE ENERGY STAR program has expanded beyond office equipment products to major appliances, lighting, new homes and even commercial and industrial buildings. The ENERGY STAR building performance rating system has already been implemented in more than 60,000 buildings, and provides fertile ground for submetering-based performance assessment through:

Sensor Install• Data collection and management,;
• Establishing performance baselines;
• Auditing and analyzing energy patterns and trends;
• Normalizing energy data for fair and accurate comparisons.

Submeters acquire the energy data using 0-2V output split-core current sensors that are installed non-invasively around the electrical feeds being metered. This eliminates having to power down the load and makes for a safer, faster install for the electrical contractor.

6. Executive Order 13423—“Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy and Transportation Management”— deals with a broad range of issues from petroleum conservation to electronics management and everything between. The measure’s Energy Efficiency guidelines claim to be “50% more stringent than the goal in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.” “Section VI. Energy & Water Management, A. Strategies and Tools, (3) Metering” mandates the installation of metering devices for potable water, electricity and thermal energy. Collected data is to be used by Federal tracking systems and made available to Federal facility managers for energy service contract negotiations. Opportunities for submetering under E.O. 13423 include:

• Energy efficiency and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions;
• Sustainable design/high-performance buildings.

7. The Green Building Initiative’s (GBI) Green Globes building rating system claims to be a simpler, more user-friendly process for assessing and integrating green design principles for buildings. Submitted in 2006 to an independent review committee of more than 100 representatives from various green building interest groups, Green Globes is currently on final approach for acceptance as the first ANSI standard (GBI 01-200XP) for commercial green buildings. GBI also works with local chapters of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to develop green building programs in the community, and is engaged in educating consumers on the value of green building techniques. As with other programs, submeters will provide the basic energy monitoring tool for measurement and verification with policy guidelines.

8. The EPA’s Green Power Partnership is a renewable energy awareness program that is designed to incentivize high-volume power users to offload part of their energy needs to renewable (non-fossil fuel) sources. The agency provides its customers with expertise in technology issues, identification of green products and services and promotional awareness. Participation levels are based on the amount of green power purchased from renewable energy sources constructed after Jan. 1, 1997, as a percentage of the using organization’s total annual base load in kWh. For example, a facility that uses 1-10 million kWh per year would have to buy 6% of its energy from green power sources to qualify as a “Green Power Partner.” To qualify as a “Green Power Leadership Club” member, 60% of the facility’s annual power buy would have to come from renewable sources. Whatever renewable energy source is used, the electrical load still has to be monitored and reported to verify compliance, an ideal application for submeters and AMR software.

9. The industry’s most widely deployed sustainable building assessment tool is the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. This performance- measuring tool is divided into several assessment subcategories, including Existing Buildings Operations & Maintenance (EBOM), Commercial Interiors (CI), Core & Shell (CS) and Schools. Another, New Construction and Major Renovations (NC), is included below as a point of illustration.

Submetering Points Chart
Submeters contribute directly toward points under several LEED green building certification categories. Any energy initiative that requires measurement and verification of program guidelines—and they all do—is fertile ground for submetering.

10. The DOE’s Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) launched Save Energy Now to improve industrial energy management through no-cost energy assessments in partnership with national supply chains, industry associations, state and local agencies, utilities, etc. Energy assessments focus on process heating, steam, pumps, fans, compressed air, HVAC and others. Save Energy Now also offers a portfolio of resources, including training and education on best practices and tools, to help users become smarter on industrial energy conservation issues. Submetering opportunities in this environment include benchmarking equipment performance, diagnostics, tracking individual processes to isolate electrical loads, and more.

[an error occurred while processing this directive] 11. Known as the “Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings,” Standard 189P claims to be the first green building standard in the U.S. developed for inclusion in building codes. Still under development as a joint proposal of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Standard 189P will provide minimum guidelines for green building practices for new commercial buildings and major renovation projects. Energy efficiency goals will include a minimum 30% reduction in energy cost (and CO2 equivalent) compared to Standard 90.1-2007.

12. The DOE’s Transformational Energy Action Management (TEAM) program is designed to provide a “replicable” Federal model for reducing energy intensity across the nationwide DOE complex by 30% and save taxpayers $90M annually through a transformation of the DOE’s energy, environmental and transportation management policies. Working closely with EISA 2007 and E.O. 13423 objectives, TEAM’s eight core goals include several that may be directly facilitated by submetering, including:
• Reduce energy and water consumption by 30% and 16%, respectively, in all DOE facilities;
• Achieve LEED Gold certification on all new buildings and major renovations in excess of $5M;
• By 2011, improve the energy efficiency of all data centers by 10%.

Bottom Line Considerations

Dramatic changes are afoot in the facility world, driven by the need to save more and more energy and cut operating costs even further. Building professionals will note in the bewildering array of energy programs now proliferating, obvious ways in which submeters and automatic meter reading (AMR) systems can help them measure, verify and report compliance with whatever requirements they may encounter. The old energy adage—“you can’t manage what you don’t measure”—is particularly true in today’s energy-conscious, automated facility environment. The good news is, submeters offer an accurate, cost-effective tool for doing just that—while providing true scalability and the flexibility to quickly adapt to evolving operational requirements.

About the Author
Don Millstein is president and CEO of E-Mon, LLC, a leading manufacturer of electric submetering equipment, energy management software and services based in Langhorne, PA. Don is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, Alliance to Save Energy, the Federal Energy Management Program task force and other professional organizations. He can be reached at (215) 752-0601 or  Web site:


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