When engaging in energy efficiency projects, measurement and verification (M&V) of savings is important to building owners and managers to justify the time, effort and money they invest in these projects. Technology continues to reduce the costs and improve the quality of M&V by making more data readily available and automating the application of sophisticated analytics. Integrating the M&V function with building performance monitoring, fault detection and diagnostics, and energy information leverages the technology investment and increases the value derived from building data.
M&V is used to calculate the savings generated from any type of energy efficiency project, including renovations, retrofits, facility improvements, and operational and behavioral changes. M&V is typically performed by experienced practitioners supplied by third parties such as energy service providers and equipment manufacturers.
Numerous guidelines and standards have been written for how M&V is conducted. The guidelines promote best practices for implementing M&V and define reporting requirements for certain applications. Examples include:
- International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP)
- ASHRAE Guideline 14 – 2002 Measurement of Energy and Demand Savings
- M&V Guidelines: Measurement and Verification of Federal Energy Projects
Governance within the building efficiency industry will need to adapt to and stay current with rapid changes driven by the development and application of information technologies.
What does technology mean for M&V?
M&V traditionally is used in support of performance contract businesses and utility rebate programs and initiatives. Technology advancements may make M&V solutions more accessible and cost-effective for a broader audience. With technology-driven M&V solutions, building owners and managers can consider opportunities to:
- Create energy baseline models and track savings from energy efficiency projects, either on their own or with the help of a third-party consultant.
- Calculate energy and financial savings with an approach that meets industry standards.
- Identify key energy drivers for a single building or portfolio of buildings.
How does technology make these things possible? Advanced building sensors are available to provide better diagnostics; and more meters, sensors and connectivity in buildings help to generate more data for review and analysis. And, while the technology generates the ability to access more data, it also offers tools to manage it. Technology can simplify and automate the extraction of information from key data points, making it easier to support timely decision-making based on real data and reliable analytics.
Ultimately, technology will increase the accuracy and functionality of M&V applications. Plus, integration of M&V with other functions — such as building performance monitoring, fault detection and diagnostics, and energy information — increases the value derived from M&V-related data. By updating governance to incorporate M&V technology changes, the building energy efficiency industry can be pushed to operate at a higher level of performance, effecting global change on energy usage and management.
Tell me what you think about the future of M&V. How do you think technology will enhance M&V? What suggestions do you have to ensure governance keeps up with the changing face of M&V practices?
Want to learn more? Check out this “Measurement and Verification of Energy Savings” white paper and the Institute for Building Efficiency at large for the latest information and analysis of technologies, policies and practices for efficient, high-performance buildings and smart energy systems around the world.