Energy Management via Data Loggers
A data logger is a device that each building manager should consider adding to his energy management plan’s toolbox, according to Buildings.com.
This device can measure CO2, humidity, temperature, electricity usage, motor run times and on/off cycles, according to Buildings.com. A data logger records data that can tell you if your building is running as efficiently as intended.
Data loggers typically cost under $100, but several are needed to install in the different systems. The devices are configured to work in conjunction with computer programs. Then they are magnetically attached to the systems.
Buildings.com points to the The Vermont Community Foundation as an organization that effectively uses these energy loggers.
The Foundation wanted to understand why its utility costs were running about $25,000 annually. Data loggers were installed and data was collected over a three-week period. The data showed that heat and circulation pumps, and motors were running during times when the building was empty. Additionally, the differences in temperature between the thermostats and the various areas of the buildings, as well as the increase in CO2 pointed to poor ventilation.
Data loggers gave the foundation the information it needed to plan for retrofits that would decrease its operating costs, and make the building run more efficiently. With the data at hand, the foundation enlisted the help of Kilawatt Technologies, which advised the foundation to install HVAC controls outfitted with a web-enabled system, a new ventilation system, various upgrades to improve the building shell, as well as use solar photovoltaic energy. These improvements will save the company about $215,000 over 15 years.
According to Onset, a manufacturer of data loggers, it’s not cost-effective to measure all the pieces of equipment or even to measure the equipment for long periods of time, like a year. It’s easier as well as more cost-effective to focus on a few pieces of equipment at a time and measure data for only a few weeks at the most. Instead of wasting time and resources on gathering and interpreting data over longer time periods, the sample data can be used to estimate data for the entire year.
As Onset explains, data loggers are useful for revealing real-world building efficiencies as opposed to using modeled examples. Data is fine-tuned to offer a picture of how energy changes when even simple events occur such as when people enter or exit a building, or when a light is turned on or off.
A common complaint among building occupants is comfort – either a room is too hot or too cold. Data loggers can evaluate temperature variances to make it easier to determine why room temperatures are deviating.
Onset explains that a data logger can detect if there is a warm up or cool down in the morning or at other times, and if temperature changes are attributed to solar exposure. Loggers that are installed near thermostats or inside registers can determine if the thermostat is adequately controlling the temperature and if the proper air supply is delivered.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends metering as a crucial component of energy efficiency in its O&M Best Practices Guide. In Chapter 8, the guide discusses different metering approaches. Whether the measurements are made over the long or short term, the department suggests using various types of data loggers.
The guide also details the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that requires all federal buildings to be metered for the efficient use of energy. Specifically the law requires all federal buildings to be metered for electricity by October 1, 2012. Advanced metering devices, such as data loggers, are recommended.
- Subscribe to our blog to receive the full blog series via email and stay informed about the latest HVAC news and insight.
- Stay up to date on facility maintenance tools such as chiller tube cleaners, boiler tube cleaners, hose/pipe cleaners, descaler systems, industrial vacuums, commercial pressure washers, and drain cleaners.
Your Next HVAC Purchase?
Click to activate a 10% coupon or insert the coupon code 10PERCENT upon checkout.