College campuses can benefit from sub-metering from a business, engineering, and management perspective— all of which are vital to an institution’s sustainability. The full weight of these benefits can vary between small and larger schools. Small colleges will benefit from sub-metering simply as a way to reduce energy use and associated costs. The metered data can identify buildings with higher energy use, and retrofitting projects can be devised to reduce expenses. On the other hand, mid-sized schools and large universities stand to benefit in a few additional ways. The business, engineering, and management advantages of sub-metering on larger campuses are detailed below.

Business Benefits of Sub-Metering

  • Sub-metering allows one to evaluate the energy use of individual facilities that receive funding from different sources. State supported buildings can be separated from auxiliary buildings, instructional buildings from research buildings, and so on.

  • This system facilitates billing to separate departments as a way of encouraging a reduction in energy use and verifies department-specific cost savings.

  • Research universities are often required to establish overhead rates with their funding agencies. In many cases, colleges will negotiate a campus-wide rate with each funding agency. Sub-metering allows institutions to determine individual overhead rates so that research performed in one facility does not effectively subsidize activities in another. It also helps to develop cost recovery analysis as it applies to sponsored research. For example, if a building that houses research work consumes energy at a higher rate than the campus average, as long as the energy use can be documented, the agency sponsoring the research may allow cost recovery for utilities in that particular facility.

Engineering Benefits of Sub-Metering

  • Sub-metering can can help one identify energy systems (i.e. boilers and chillers) that need repairs, upgrades, or special attention. The data will show usage trends associated with each form of energy, proving the benefits received from subsequent maintenance.

  • It allows for rapid response to component failures and other emergencies, presuming that the meters are connected to an energy management system.

  • Baseline energy used can be compiled for the purpose of setting contractual terms with an energy service company.

Management Benefits of Sub-Metering

  • Data gathered through sub-metering can help in making decisions about energy system upgrades by comparing energy use in similar facilities.

  • Sub-metering focuses accountability for energy use on the department working in the building, encouraging facility managers to adjust their operations.

  • The information provided by the meters may also facilitate a discussion between energy managers and school officials, allowing decision makers to collaborate on ways to reduce consumption in buildings showing excessive energy use.

As this list explains, campuses can enjoy several advantages on account of sub-metering. Many colleges and universities are enjoying these business, managerial, and engineering benefits because they’ve already invested in sub-metering equipment and training of personnel.

For more information about energy measurement and sub-metering products, visit our BTU Energy Meter page.