HOW DO YOU MONITOR AND TRACK BUILDING ENERGY USE

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Comment by David Williams on July 23, 2015 at 7:50pm

Good data will provide good analysis.  Monthly energy bills and weather data from a local airport will only get you in the same town as the ball park.  Actual delta T's and hourly fuel consumption will get you to home plate. The weather and electrical monitoring takes about an hour to set up.  The gas use monitoring equipment takes more time to install because the utilities will not allow access to their pulse outputs.  Transferring data in to the spreadsheet is currently copy and paste from a csv file.  I am trying to put together a data acquisition system that will include the pulse totals from the electric and gas measuring devices along with the environmental data.  As with most research, time and money are the only things standing in the way.

Comment by Bijou Lulla on July 23, 2015 at 2:16pm

David,

Sounds like a lot of work; have you used Energy Star Portfolio and any online tracking tools?

Comment by David Williams on July 23, 2015 at 1:11pm

Semi automatic- 

I collect hourly energy use data using a TED 5000 for electric use and Lascar EL-USB-5 event data logger that is connected to the pulse output of an Elster BK-4G diaphragm meter for LPG usage.  Environmental data is collected with a Davis Vantage pro that collects temperatures from 4 temperature sensors, indoor and outdoor humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and direction, rainfall and barometric pressure.  This hourly data, retrieved in a csv format,  is entered into an Excel spreadsheet that calculates UA values over varying weather conditions.  UA values are similar to miles per gallon in that they fluctuate as conditions change.  Large amounts of data (60 months) have been collected, at two different sites, and average UA values are identified by filtering based on different environmental conditions.  Solar radiation influences, outdoor temperature ranges, windspeed and direction are included in filtering these UA values.  Charts help to illustrate the impact of each condition and we can "see" the impact of passive solar gains, extreme cold ( 0 to  -30 F.) and high winds from various directions. 

  Difficulties include synchronizing different instruments, daylight savings, battery life, estimating heat value in LP gas, determining heat generated by electric consumption and extremely large spreadsheet management (thousands of rows and 40 + columns). 

  Our environmental sensors are wireless and sensors can be placed to show conditions in different interior zones.  Our current lpg data does not show which "zone" requires heat and a separate meter had to be installed for access to the pulse readings. The event logger can hold several months of hourly data, but must be retrieved through a usb port, reset and synchronized to the other devices.  The electricity consumption shows overall use and we must estimate the heat energy created by this usage.  The TED 5000 will also store several months worth of information before a download is necessary.

  Showing the rate of axillary energy used under varying temperature differences gives us a fairly accurate look at the energy efficiency of a building in the same way that measuring the volume of fuel used to travel a given distance helps to define the energy efficiency of a vehicle. Collecting enough information to show relative efficiency has been a key component to our study. ( Eg: Regular or premium, Kansas or Colorado, 60 mph or 85mph )  Actual performance is superior to the many virtual ratings that seem to be growing in popularity. 

Comment by Sean Shanley on July 23, 2015 at 10:39am

Hi Bijou, Thanks for the repost of our recent WegoWise blog article!

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