Controlling Utility Costs in Your Industrial Facility
June 4th, 2021
“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”.
- Murphy’s Law
With each passing week it seems that we are collectively testing the systems around us. From supply chains to food processing, and commodities to pipelines, normally insignificant and unrelated events are becoming tangled in a global web of inter-relationships and dependencies.
It is said that the more complex a system, the more fragile it becomes. It’s opposite – antifragility – is the desired outcome of probability theorists and philosophers such as Nassim Taleb.
While it is a lofty ambition to construct something that gets stronger with adversity… even the layperson is armed with two key tools to navigate the uncertainty. They are: simplicity and conscientious observation. Put simply, if we can strip away all the unnecessary components in our businesses and our lives – and if we can then easily track and modify behaviour – then we can increase the chances of success.
When it comes to owning and operating a commercial facility – whether as a Landlord or Tenant – it is ever more important to control the bottom line and adopt a waste-minimization mindset. What better way to do this than through the implementation of simple energy measurement and control systems?
Last week we introduced the concept of sub-metering as both a tool and a process for first measuring and then controlling energy expenditure in your industrial facility; whether you utilize gas, water, electricity, thermal energy… or all four.
This week, we asked Utility Metering expert Alberto Quiroz of Intellimeter to provide us with a bit of insight into the sub-metering systems, their components, and some of the costs and benefits that both Landlords and Tenants can realize…
Here is what Alberto had to say…
Integrating a Sub-Metering System to the Building Automation System (BAS)
Building Automation Systems (BAS) core functionality is to keep building climate within a specified range, light rooms based on an occupancy schedule, monitor performance and device failures in all systems and provide malfunction alarms. They allow property owners, managers, and operators to program their buildings to start-up, shut down, to cool or heat to a certain temperature and to turn lights on or off at certain times. This makes BAS powerful tools for having control over a building’s utility usage. However, while the original intent of BAS was climate control inside the building, they did not address the need for more insight into building operations – how they are run and where resources are consumed. That is where submetering comes into play.
Submetering Systems are integrated meters and automated reading systems for monitoring energy and water consumption. These systems can run independently from the BAS and they allow building owners and operators to monitor energy-related, and water utility services in real-time and in detail.
Why Integrate Sub-Metering Systems to the BAS?
A good positive step towards lowering energy costs is reducing energy consumption. Installing energy-efficient equipment and using a BAS are all key to the first step. However, an accurate measure of consumption refines and improves the process. by just changing equipment, there is no way to know whether it will work as expected. In large buildings or campuses with multiple buildings, different managers have different interests, security may be interested in some aspects of the BAS, Facilities may just be interested in equipment performance and equipment alarms, an energy manager may require only a few parameters regarding electricity consumption, such as KVA/Hr, kWh, or 15-minute interval data. while the accounting departments need to allocate costs by departments or collect utility consumption from tenants because they are interested in billing reports at the end of the month.
Building Automation Systems as originally conceived are energy portals that do not provide an ideal solution for everyone involved. However, tying a submetering system to a building’s BAS complements it by adding metered consumption data which is necessary for a facility engineer or a manager because they would be interested in the overall building performance. Thanks to submetering systems integrated with BAS, the facility manager can monitor the consumption of energy of all the systems in the building.
The Benefits of Integrating a Sub-Metering System to a Building’s BAS
- Centralized Data Hub
With a Building Automation System, data will get collected in one place so only one system needs to be checked. One can even access and control the system from a remote location. BAS are typically cloud-enabled and wireless, meaning that you can review your building’s status at any given moment.
- Detailed Information
Thanks to the submetering system, facility managers or engineers can access detailed information, such as current and voltage per phase, frequency, total harmonic distortion, power factor, the average per circuit metered, etc. For the HVAC, they can see the incoming/outgoing temperature from every fan-coil unit (also for gas and water) or the rate of flow of water-glycol at every metered point. The detailed information can provide them a clear picture of the building’s performance in multiple locations.
- Plug Control
Most buildings have many electrical outlets that are used to plug in different electrical devices and appliances. If they are still plugged in, these devices continue to consume energy even when they are turned off. It’s what we call phantom or vampire power loads. A submeter is able to check individual plugged loads, while a BAS uses controls to manage them. They can shut down all devices after hours to save more energy.
- Improved LEED Rating
With a more energy-efficient structure consisting of submetering and BAS, building owners get an opportunity to either obtain LEED certification or improve LEED rating. A LEED-certified building is identified as environmentally friendly, which can boost its reputation and value. Going “green” has become a must nowadays, and both tenants and the workforce are looking for sustainable buildings to live and work in. By implementing a submetering system in your building’s BAS, you will create greener and leaner operations.
A submetering system integrated with a building automation system facilitates easier technology upgrade in the future. As technology continues to be developed (especially since most building technology is now created to be wireless), building owners will be able to connect and operate new devices much more easily.
Overall, if you are an Investor, Landlord, Owner-Occupier, or Developer of commercial property in the GTA, then you must consult with a utility metering professional to measure and control your utility costs, including water, gas, electric, and thermal.
***Disclaimer: The information provided in this newsletter is for educational purposes only. Alberto is an expert, however, to receive the appropriate guidance for your unique situation, please consult the proper authorities before taking action. We are not liable for any damages – perceived or otherwise – as a result of your own personal decisions.***
On that note…
For further information on the subject of Commercial, Residential, and Industrial Metering in the GTA please contact:
Intellimeter Canada Inc.
Intellimeter offers a comprehensive line of sub-metering systems to provide detailed real-time information on Electricity, Water, Gas, and Thermal Energy consumption. Their i-meter-Energy Analysis cloud-based software is the gateway to intelligent information for their clients. Their greatest value is providing customers with energy information that strengthens conservation, accountability and helps to promote lean property management.
To read the original article on Intellimeter’s blog, go here.
Utility metering is probably a topic that most of us either take for granted or forget to think about when thinking about our properties. However, as they say, the quickest way to get someone’s attention is to hit them in their pocketbook.
Energy costs have been rising as of late – and – with many regions and nations pursuing long-term energy goals, it isn’t a stretch to think that we may be facing additional disincentives or taxes which may push prices up further in the not-too-distant future.
Further, Users occupying multi-tenant facilities may want to pay their exact ‘fair share’ of utility costs, as opposed to a proportionate amount based on the square footage they occupy. With the growing popularity of robotics, racking, and other material handling or manufacturing machinery… the energy consumption within industrial facilities can be significant… so why pay for your neighbours excessive use?
Finally, businesses in general are looking for ways to control costs and push down their bottom lines. What better way to do so than to first accurately measure all of your outgoing expenses? Here is one line item that has traditionally been taken ‘as is’ without question… well here is a solution that is simple to outsource and implement.
Alberto was kind enough to reach out and provide us with great, actionable content to share with you, our readers. So if you are looking for more detail on this or anything else related to utility metering, then please connect with Alberto directly (his contact info is above).
Until next week…
Goran Brelih and his team have been servicing Investors and Occupiers of Industrial properties in Toronto Central and Toronto North markets for the past 25 years.
Goran Brelih is a Senior Vice President for Cushman & Wakefield ULC in the Greater Toronto Area.
Over the past 27 years, he has been involved in the lease or sale of approximately 25.7 million square feet of industrial space, valued in excess of $1.6 billion dollars while averaging between 40 and 50 transactions per year and achieving the highest level of sales, from the President’s Round Table to Top Ten in GTA and the National Top Ten.
Goran is currently serving as Immediate Past President of the SIOR ‐ Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, Central Canadian Chapter.
Industrial Real Estate Sales and Leasing, Investment Sales, Design-Build and Land Development
About Cushman & Wakefield ULC.
Cushman & Wakefield is a leading global real estate services firm that delivers exceptional value by putting ideas into action for real estate occupiers and owners. Cushman & Wakefield is among the largest real estate services firms with 48,000 employees in approximately 400 offices and 70 countries.
In 2017, the firm had revenue of $6.9 billion across core services of property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, advisory, and other services. To learn more, visit www.cushmanwakefield.com or follow @CushWake on Twitter.
For more information on GTA Industrial Real Estate Market or to discuss how they can assist you with your real estate needs please contact Goran at 416-756-5456, email at email@example.com, or visit www.goranbrelih.com.
Goran Brelih, SIOR
Senior Vice President, Broker
Cushman & Wakefield ULC, Brokerage.
Immediate Past President, SIOR – Central Canada Chapter