I find myself using a variety of resources to support my energy program evaluation, measurement, verification, research, and development activities over the course of the year. The Internet offers what can seem like an overwhelming wealth of information to use when you want to be sure you are following best practices, are keeping current with the knowledge in the industry and to inform your work more generally — but there’s also a lot of noise out there. Much of the best evaluation work and resources available are the work of teams that include technical, social science, and regulatory experts who collaborate to develop guides, studies, and data to further the effectiveness of energy efficiency programs and third-party evaluations. I’m guessing that for many of our readers that is your goal too, so here are my top three EMV resources picks — and why.
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Back in 2012 I polled our office to find out what mobile apps for HVAC and energy analysis our engineers were experimenting with in the field or back at the office, and summarized those results in a blog post Top Apps for HVAC and Energy Analysis. I also wrote an update to that post in 2013. As you’re undoubtedly aware, things change quickly in the tech sector—and the app marketplace for engineers and commissioning folks is no exception. Given that it’s been two years since I last dug into this topic, I figured it’s time to see what’s new. As with the last posts, I have two caveats before we begin: first, while these apps can be very useful, we still don’t use them for critical analysis, but more as a very powerful back-of-the-envelope equivalent. Critical analysis still happens desk-side for us. Second is that we are an office with a mix of smartphone platforms—a little more than 50% use Apple’s iOS with the balance using Android. We also have a couple of iPads for field use. For simplicity in writing this, I’ve focused on iOS apps—but for most of these, Android versions are also available in the Google Play store.
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Commercial and industrial businesses spend a great percentage of their building costs on creating hot and cold water and pumping it around their facility. This infrastructure includes chillers, boilers, cooling towers, and pumps used for heating, cooling, process cooling, and domestic hot water. Considering how much money is spent on this portion of the business, it is not surprising that there is an increased focus on determining the correct amount of water required to meet the needs of the business. This blog post aims to explain the differences between the various flow meters currently on the market.
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Generating Market Demand
The purpose of energy efficiency programs is to cost effectively generate market demand for energy efficiency that would not be achieved without market intervention. An energy efficiency process evaluation investigates the effectiveness of programmatic interventions through qualitative and quantitative analysis. Marrying the analytical engineering-based approach of impact evaluation with the typically more social science orientation of traditional process evaluation can generate useful, actionable results to help program administrators improve market interventions to increase participation, depth of savings, and market transformation.
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Continuing on an earlier blog post on Evaluation, Measurement and Verification (EM&V), a vital source of information for the EM&V process comes from metering. As mentioned in Katie’s recent blog post, there are many types of meters that can be used to collect data for analyzing energy savings. Using the right type of meter is important, but ensuring your engineering team installs it in the right place at the right time for the right duration is also critical to ensuring that the data collected by the meters is both valid and beneficial for the energy analysis for which it will be used.
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Today there are a multitude of energy metering devices, (or data loggers), available to enable the analysis of building systems functionality. There are many different types of data loggers, each with a different purpose. To get the most from your building using energy metering, you need to narrow your options with your overall goals in mind. Before we install meters on a system, whether it’s an electrical system, HVAC system, or domestic hot water system, we first determine what type of data we need and what the data will be used for. With this information, we put together a metering plan that will produce the data necessary for the analysis. For this blog post, I am going to provide two specific examples of systems/equipment we metered, including why we were performing the metering, how we did it (what types of meters), and what the findings were. Both of these examples showed the equipment being metered was not working as intended.
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Most state and utility energy efficiency programs undergo a “process evaluation” to assess how well the programs achieve their objectives, and how the programs could do better. Process evaluations can provide essential feedback from the perspective of program administrators, end-users (e.g., households and building owners) and suppliers (e.g., mechanical and lighting contractors). Feedback is great for improvement, right? Well, yes, if you can act on it, and if acting on it will have impact.
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Have you ever wondered how utilities and energy agencies run energy efficiency programs for installing recommended products such as variable frequency drives and LED lighting? Evaluation, Measurement and Verification (EM&V) is a crucial part of evaluating energy efficiency programs. EM&V provides an assessment of how well the program is performing. This goes beyond assessing the performance of the installed energy efficient measures; it also provides an assessment of how customers perceive and use the program. EM&V makes energy programs sustainable by providing feedback through multiple and diverse sources of information.