Measurement and Verification for Energy Projects 2

Measurement and Verification for Energy Projects

What is Measurement  and Verification (M&V)?

Imagine this; a technology supplier approaches you with a claim that his system can reduce your chiller energy consumption by 20%. You happily bought the system along with his words. At the end of 3 months, you found that your chiller plant’s energy consumption has indeed been reduced by more than 20%. Kudos to you, you have made a wise decision. The only thing is that, your engineer has informed you that some of the end-users have not actually fully operated their chillers in the last three months. So, the critical question now is, how much of the recorded savings have been contributed by the “efficient” new chiller? And how do you verify the actual savings of your brand new chiller?

Well, this is where measurement and verification (M&V) can make a critical difference. With M&V, we can assist you in determining the actual savings contributed by your energy improvement measures. Now you can confidently justify your purchase. But one thing to remember is that, the M&V must be done before implementing the energy improvement measures for us to establish a reliable baseline.

How does Measurement and Verification (M&V) work?

A professional M&V consultant will first measure the energy consumption of the system before the energy-saving project is implemented to set establish a baseline.  Then they will measure and monitor the system’s energy status after the energy-saving project is implemented. The consultant will then present the actual impact of your energy-saving project based on the M&V analysis.

What are the types of Measurement and Verification (M&V) analysis?

The International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP) recommends four measurement and verification options.

i. Partially Measured Retrofit Isolation

For this option, only specific parameters are measured, while the others are estimated.  Historical or manufacturers’ data may support the estimated factors.   For example, for a lighting retrofit project, a temporary power logger is used to measure power consumption from the baseline and the retrofitted light fixtures. The operating hours are estimated. Savings are determined based on engineering calculations.

ii. Retrofit Isolation

For this option, all parameters are measured by using a fixed power meter or a logger.  The meter is installed before and after the retrofit. Savings are calculated based on the measured data before and after the retrofit and adjusted to the reporting period. This is the best way to estimate accurate real savings.

iii. Whole facility

This option can be used when energy saving is significant.  A meter is installed to measure and monitor energy for a whole facility or sub-facility before and after the retrofit.  This option requires a detailed inventory of all equipment included in the meter reading and understanding the energy usage and patterns.  The savings are calculated based on regression analysis.

iv. Calibrated simulation

In this option, computer simulation is used to model the performance of a whole facility (or sub-facility). The model must be calibrated with actual hourly or monthly billing data from the facility. This requires engineering expertise.

What if my I have site expansion; equipment changes, or other changes within my site? What happens to the baseline target?

This is not a problem. In an M&V calculation, adjustment factors are considered when there is site expansion; equipment changes, or other changes which may affect the energy saving calculations.

Why do I need an Measurement  and Verification (M&V)?

i. As an owner, if you are applying for Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) and would like an independent verifier.

If you plan to embark on an EPC project, it is advisable for you to employ an M&V consultant and analyst that is different and independent from the EPC contractor.  The M&V consultant appointed by you can act as your advisor to verify the savings claimed by the EPC project contractor.

ii. As an EPC provider, if you would like to perform M&V for your client and apply for financing.

An EPC provider would need to conduct an M&V analysis before committing to an EPC project.  An EPC project is suitable only for projects that yield savings more than the financing, plus the interest costs.  Doing proper M&V can reduce the risk of financing a project which may not be profitable. Engaging a reputable third-party M&V professional will help you to sell your services.  

iii. If you are applying for an Energy Management System Certification.

M&V is usually a requirement for energy management system certification.

Who is a credible Measurement and Verification (M&V)?

M&V should not be conducted by just any consultant, but only by those that are Accredited Energy Measurement & Verification Professional (AEMVP).

Where can I find Measurement and Verification (M&V) service?

We are Accredited Energy Measurement & Verification Professional (AEMVP). We can help you perform the M&V analysis. Again, please remember to engage us before implementing energy improvement measures for us to establish the baseline energy consumption for your facility.

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Updated at May 2022 by Optimal Systems Engineering

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