How submeters work and why they matter [Article]

May 31, 2017 Ellen Kirkness

Without a submeter . . .

Working with only a main meter, a property owner typically bills a tenant for utilities according to the square footage the tenant occupies. This gives the tenant minimal power in controlling his utility bill and, consequentially, little incentive to conserve energy. It’s the case in both commercial and industrial settings.

With a submeter . . .

To bill energy use to each tenant according to actual usage, a building owner needs granular energy-use data – data that, in turn, would give tenants an important layer of control over the bills they receive. Enter the technology of submeters, which measure energy consumption at an individual-property level.

Why tenants care . . .

Often built into the building-management system, submeters acquire and transmit data on the actual use of lighting, HVAC systems (chillers/air handlers) and plug loads. Then tenants can be billed based on usage, gaining the incentive to use less energy.

Why building owners care . . .

Usage data can be aggregated and rolled up into a visualization program so that owners, operators and managers can spot trends and implement procedures that help modify building energy use. Did Tenant C just install LED high bay lighting? Is the company on the 34th floor leaving all the lights on at night? Many of the newer energy-metering systems also incorporate data analytics and easy-to-use graphical interfaces that help building owners pinpoint potential areas of energy waste. There lies the added control for the building owner. 

Want to learn more about how to monitor multiple energy loads in real time and use that data to curb energy spend? Check out our FREE Industrial Lighting Control Strategies eGuide that can help you reduce your energy bill up to 70%.

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