Measurement, Verification, and Sustainability

MEASUREMENT

Performance contracting was built on the concept that an outside company would pay for upgrades to a facility and then be repaid by the facility owner out of the utility savings. The idea is simple, the documentation is not.
Each month the performance contracting company reports to the facility owner how much money they are owed based on the calculated amount of money that WOULD have been spent without the upgrades. The complexity to produce this detailed report is included in the contract and so the cost is ultimately paid by the owner out of their savings.
Additionally, these reports can be dozens or hundreds of pages long, depending on the scope, and must be reviewed and approved monthly.

For Example: Just think for a minute all the items that would have to be measured to precisely report on the savings provided by a simple air-cooled chiller replacement project. The new chiller would need a flow meter (with appropriate temperature sensors) and a kW meter that record the kW utilized across the range of tonnages produced; crossed referenced at operating outdoor air temperature and supply water temperature… AND you would need all that data for the old chiller before it was replaced. Then, each month a detailed minute by minute account of what tonnages were supplied and at what temperatures compared to the power used.

VERIFICATION

The feedback we have received from our customers is that they want a low-cost way to track their past
improvements that is quick to read, easy to understand, and that they can use to justify their future energy improvement projects year after year. They want to verify that the project they approved is working as intended and to keep track of those dollars for use in future efficiency or other capital improvement projects.

After some trial and error, we have found that our customers like our 6-page Savings Tracker report. This quarterly document is primarily graphical, which allows our customers to quickly review their buildings actual performance vs predicted, the trend over the past year (or longer with additional data) and how these changes are affecting their Department of Energy, Energy Star Score. The data is automatically normalized for weather but can also be normalized for other customer reportable metrics such as student attendance or widgets produced.

SUSTAINABILITY

The longer the Savings Tracker is active the more useful the data is to a facilities manager. Typically, after a new project is installed we see a noticeable drop in energy usage and everyone on the team is excited. Then after a year or so the savings is flat, and the report starts to feel stale. Some facility managers are tempted to not renew the tracker despite its low cost. We think that is a mistake. Unless they are aggressively utilizing a BAS data harvesting data analytics program to provide Ongoing Commissioning  this report may be the only way to identify that their system has begun to drift and that a Re/RetroCommissioning project may be recommended.