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Using Building-level Energy Metering to Set Benchmarks for Energy Management

Image of Rebecca Butler
Rebecca Butler

According to the 2020 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction, building operations account for 55% of global electricity consumption and 38% of total global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Building-level energy metering can change that and help you implement an effective Building Energy Management program that creates a cleaner, greener future. 

The installation of building-level energy meters or submeters allows facility managers to set benchmarks, track energy usage patterns, precisely calibrate operational parameters, and develop innovative energy conservation strategies. The advantages of building-level energy metering can be further realized when integrated with an advanced smart building platform.

3 Key Advantages of Building-Level Energy Metering

Building-level energy metering helps you create custom, realistic objectives that take into account the changing energy usage patterns of building occupants. Once conservation measures have been established, it allows facility managers to track energy savings and operate building systems more efficiently. By exploring the advantages of building-level energy metering, you’ll see why this is such a powerful tool in the energy management fight for efficiency.


Energy Use Analysis 

Energy costs constitute a majority of operating expenses in commercial buildings. To make significant, lasting efficiency improvements, facility managers need to look beyond simplistic cost-reduction approaches to equipment upgrades. Building-level energy metering lets facility managers better understand the key areas of energy consumption such as lighting, HVAC, hot water, pumps, elevator, IT servers, workstations, and other appliances. Once the characteristics of energy consumption in a building have been determined, you can identify the efficiency opportunities with the biggest ROI.



Benchmarking is an excellent way to assess how well a property is performing and set appropriate efficiency goals. To benchmark a building or a portfolio, facility managers need to determine:

  • Total annual energy consumption
  • Building use type
  • Building square footage
  • Climate zone

If facility managers have a large portfolio and enough information for each building, they can use their own portfolios for benchmarking. Otherwise, you can use free databases such as Building Performance Database that provide insights into typical building energy data. Facility managers can use the information about their buildings to normalize the data set and create a benchmark to compare the energy performance of buildings against others, or against real estate market statistics. Usually, this means sub-selecting buildings by use-type and calculating energy consumption on a per square foot and/or per cooling degree day/heating degree day basis. 

Benchmarking can reveal energy inefficiencies in building systems, isolate key contributing factors, and identify the right places to target energy improvement projects, including equipment upgrades and process changes. 


Cost Savings 

Building-level energy metering provides clarity on energy consumption and allows for more accurate billing. The energy meters can be aggregated to provide building-level data on total building energy consumption as well as assess the consumption by individual zones. With tenants being able to clearly visualize their energy consumption patterns and the associated costs, it encourages meaningful behavioral changes that improve efficiency and reduce utility bills.

Though building-level energy metering offers significant advantages, energy meters are notoriously installed or integrated incorrectly. That is why facility managers must approach energy meter data with a critical eye. The data should be visualized and compared to utility bills to confirm its accuracy. Once confirmed, real-time metering can be used to identify energy drift, estimate energy savings, and predict and avoid peak demand charges.

Unlock the Potential of Building-Level Energy Metering

In most buildings, energy meters are read manually by service providers or maintenance staff employed by the building management. The labor and data integrity costs of this approach are high, and the utility of the readings is limited. A cloud-based intelligent building management platform, like onPoint, takes energy metering to another level. By providing real-time insights into building performance and conditions, automating energy controls, and predicting energy use, onPoint transforms energy management across your portfolio.

onPoint's capabilities include:

  • Energy demand management: By analyzing the demand curve of a building, onPoint accurately predicts the peak demand times and helps facility managers avoid them to realize significant savings.
  • Energy monitoring: onPoint continuously monitors energy consumption and offers insights into real-time and historical load patterns. It can also model and predict energy usage at regular intervals on a 15-minute or hourly basis.

onPoint takes the guesswork out of building-level energy metering and makes your building data work for you.   

Want to see onPoint in action? Watch a 5-minute demo video here.

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