It is often said, “If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” As electricity costs rise, managers and operators of large chilled water plants are given the responsibility, and often a mandate, to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs. Yet they often lack the tools required to measure power consumption in real time — in particular, submetering of major components to identify sources of inefficiency. They may also lack the independent resources to analyze the results and devise modifications of their BAS control strategies to optimize performance. As a result, they can’t effectively manage inefficient systems and rising power costs. The process of continuous energy monitoring and verification provides the real-time data and analytic tools they need to identify and modify inefficient operating parameters and verify that these changes are saving energy.
In 2009, Texas Woman’s University (TWU) initiated a continuous energy monitoring program using submetering of major components and a Web-based, consultative approach to generate operational savings in the 4,000-ton central chiller plant at its Denton campus. As a result, TWU reduced the operating cost of the plant by $74,061 in 15 months. Within the first 45 days of the start of baseline monitoring and analysis, TWU’s advisors identified inefficiency in the operation of a 1,000-ton VFD chiller — data that the TWU central plant operations team could now see for themselves on their Web-based interface.