Integrative Design Process
The integrative design process understands that buildings, their components, and their use type and surroundings are interrelated. Involving all stakeholders helps to identify synergies and benefits that would otherwise go unnoticed to optimize energy efficiency in buildings. An integrated submetering team can involve the building owner, facility managers, operations and maintenance staff, tenants, design professionals, codes and standards developers, and portfolio managers with the goals to reduce resource consumption and reduce operating costs.
In order to implement well planned and integrated submetering systems, roles and responsibilities for stakeholders need to be clearly defined to meet anticipated performance outcomes. Based on the common objective for these stakeholders to maintain and preserve building assets, lower operating costs, and improve occupant satisfaction, roles associated with managing and analyzing submetering systems need to be directly linked to these core building duties. Personnel can leverage submetering systems to make smart operational, behavioral, and investments decisions from and for the following key entities.
Submetering systems help to efficiently manage a building’s resource use, thereby creating a more comfortable environment for all tenants and occupants. Building owners can install submetering systems for different uses according a building’s need and minimize resource use to the level needed to maintain and properly run a building or facility.
Facility Managers and Operations and Maintenance Staff
No matter how sustainable a building may be in design and construction, it can only remain so if it is operated responsibly and maintained properly. Facility managers and operations and maintenance staff are instrumental in tracking individual building performance data, making data useful for other stakeholders, and taking corrective actions. Submetering systems provide early detection of problems by showing exactly where resource consumption needs to be better managed and highlighting abnormal usage patterns. Evaluating this data requires specific training on energy management and assessment systems, but facility managers can share this information with building occupants, tenants, and owners to improve building performance.
Submeters eliminate utility billing problems associated with arbitrary ratio-based measures (e.g. square footage) that favor high volume users over low-use tenants. Submetering systems at the tenant level equalizes the playing field in buildings that can allow tenants to benefit from energy conservation practices they implement. Monitoring energy consumption to reduce costs can create larger behavioral changes, like purchasing and using energy efficient appliances, working with operations and maintenance staff to reduce energy use, and make in impact in a building’s overall performance.
Data provides important input to the design process. The availability of focused data can help establish direction for designing, building, and maintaining high performance buildings for people to live and work in. Submetering systems help to measure and verify design strategies to inform actual performance and future needs for building stakeholders. Submetering systems help realize the full benefits of high performance design features by optimizing equipment operations and maintenance, efficiently managing resources, and increasing occupant awareness and behavior change.
Codes and Standards Developers and Regulators
Energy usage data for different types of buildings can serve to validate requirements within existing codes and standards, or identify new approaches to achieve the intended results. By determining how buildings are really performing, a wide range of opportunities for the overall improvement of building operations and maintenance become available.
Portfolio Managers are responsible for the overall performance of building operations and the management of projects for an assigned set of properties. Portfolio Managers can help to monitor to ensure consistency in practices, policies, and procedures across many buildings.