Metering and monitoring made simple

sub metering
© Katie Nesling

Here, we discover the numerous benefits of metering, sub metering and how Orsis is providing simple solutions to monitor energy consumption

Creating a step change in energy usage starts with metering. Management consultant Peter Drucker says, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure,” meaning success needs to be defined and tracked. This can be applied to energy use; having a supplier utility bill every period and then trying to figure out why your bills are fluctuating is not sufficient. A resilient metering policy is required to enable you to visualise and target specific areas where energy usage is high. With climate change firmly on the agenda, efficient use of energy sub metering to monitor energy consumption is a necessity for all buildings.

Energy Managers should be aware of the need to have effective metering in place to enable the reduction in consumption and associated costs. Building Managers are able to use the information collected from the metering to recover costs of energy consumption through recharging to occupants.

This leads us into the Metering Instruments Directive (MID). As of October 2016, every new meter installed for recharge purposes must be approved to MID regulations and is required for loads up to 100 kW for electricity. MID legislation came into effect in October 2006 and ran alongside the original Ofgem legislation for 10 years. It then superseded Ofgem legislation in October 2016.

The new regulations apply without exception to most UK businesses; it could be a factory, college, hospital, retail chain, airport, local authority council; no commercial site should be without an effective energy management policy.

So, what is a suitable monitoring solution for a site? There is an argument that says meter everything possible but that could cause confusion and possibly provide a data overload in terms of trying to determine where energy is being used.

The best metering policies flow with the physical energy use; this means a check meter on all incoming mains and then on the main usage points from there down to the end-use.

In multi-tenant office blocks, this would mean metering each main distribution board feeding a tenant for each area on a floor, sub metering is the installation of meters in addition to existing primary billing meters. This allows you to be able to measure and record the electricity usage for individual areas within your organisation.

It is well known that metering for multi-occupancy properties is now a necessity due to a buildings mixed use nature. Many tenant demises now incorporate server rooms and dedicated kitchens so being able to recharge energy use on the occupied area is no longer a viable option; operating hours and demand loads must also be taken into consideration.

Why would I need sub metering?

If you have a large space that is supplied through one meter it can be difficult to understand which areas are using more electricity than others. For example, in a warehouse where heating/cooling and lighting are all major users, it is difficult to separate the consumption and timing of each of these. This can make effective energy management challenging. If you do not know what is being used and where, it is difficult to analyse and reduce consumption accurately. By installing a sub meter, you can begin to understand the patterns of consumption for specified activities and equipment.

Benefits of sub metering monitoring

Monitoring exactly when and where your energy is consumed can enable you to identify where simple savings can be made on your operating costs. It can help to highlight problem areas, such as unusual patterns in consumption or excessively high consumption. By having access to this information, you can begin to isolate these issues and resolve them, for example by replacing old and inefficient machinery.

Sub metering and the information produced allows you to monitor the energy-saving schemes you have implemented. The software used provides you with the capability to compare consumption over different time periods which is ideal when you are trying to see how successful your energy-saving initiatives have been.

Strategically positioning meters will enable you to:

  • Break down your energy consumption into individual areas such as departments, machinery, or lighting.
  • Profile the energy consumption for individual operations.
  • Identify target areas where energy-saving measures can be implemented.
  • Collect information for the purpose of internal charging or management reports.
  • Create league tables for differing sites based on consumption to target energy savings.

So, where does a Building Management System (BMS) come in all this? Many sites have an integrated BMS system and have sub metering attached to it, this is good for taking spot readings from meters or checking on the load on each meter point. The costs of a BMS are seriously expensive as each meter must be hard-wired into a BMS outstation and configured on the system and this latter phase always requires a specialised BMS engineer. This makes expansion of an original system expensive and difficult; with tenant attrition together with custom design of demises, changes are inevitable. Taking into account failures in comms and meters being replaced, a dedicated metering and automatic Monitoring and Targeting system (aM&T) system would be more beneficial, tenant access can also be made available to the data, not something achievable with BMS systems. The initial installation may have meters connected locally or through mobile networks and forwarded to a dedicated aM&T system.

The major benefits of an aM&T include:

  • Visualisation of consumption across assets and buildings.
  • Engage occupants through dashboards and displays.
  • Virtual metering.
  • Scalable
  • Accurate & timely readings avoiding human errors.
  • Data integration for tenant and franchise billing.
  • Cost-effective.

aM&T sub metering systems also benefit from the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ESA) Scheme for energy savings technologies to facilitate the proactive management of energy use.

The chosen system must provide relevant data enabling you to make informed decisions on energy usage leading to reduced costs to the business.

If you are interested in finding out more about metering and monitoring, please email your details to our sales team at and we will be happy to contact you to discuss your requirements without any obligations.


Please note: This is a commercial profile

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Chief Technical Officer
Orsis UK Ltd.
Phone: +441423530700
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