Monitoring and metering your energy use
Energy metering system options
For you to make the best use of your energy data, it is a good idea to find out what your current systems are and work out whether they provide you with enough detail. If you need more detail there are various metering systems you could consider.
If your site has a peak electricity load above 100 kilowatts (and is therefore a 'code 5' site) it will already have half-hourly primary meters installed which record energy consumption every half an hour. They provide you with useful information for energy management and help identify possible energy savings. You may be able to access the data online.
If your site is not classified as code 5 you could consider having it re-classified and having a half-hourly meter installed. This can be an expensive option that would usually only be suitable for large organisations.
Gas daily metered
Large gas users may be metered daily (DM) and you will have a communication-enabled meter. This allows your supplier to track your gas consumption as you use it.
If your site doesn't qualify for DM but your meter was installed in the last 15 years you may be able to arrange for your consumption to be measured on a half-hourly basis and to get the data sent to you daily by SMS text message.
Smart meter systems provide consumption data storage, retrieval and display facilities to help you manage energy use and identify wasted energy quickly.
Smart metering is suitable for smaller sites that have either:
- non half-hourly electricity meters
- manually-read gas meters
Your primary meters will only tell you the total energy used at your site. Sub-metering will help you see the specific areas that you can save energy in. They measure energy usage either:
- within particular areas of your site
- by individual items of equipment
Automatic meter reading
Automatic meter reading (AMR) is a one-way communication system from your gas or electricity meter to the data collector or supplier. There's no need for manual meter readings and your bills are always based on actual readings rather than estimates. You can ask for regular readings to help you manage your energy consumption.
Building energy management systems
If you spend a significant amount on energy you could consider using a building energy management system (BEMS). This is a computer-based system that controls services such as heating and lighting throughout your building.
A BEMS can be connected to half-hourly meters to monitor usage in different areas and identify abnormalities.