Posted on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 by Tor Skjold

What are the benefits of district cooling and submetering?

You can save energy but, first, you have to know where exactly energy is being consumed so that you can manage it.

Sub-metering does exactly that and has proven to save 10-20 % on energy consumption. On top, when automating both meter reading and data management, you can actively use the data to track consumption and enhance energy awareness among the consumers.

Let’s have a quick look into cooling and submetering. A district cooling distribution network delivers chilled water to residential and commercial properties, such as apartments, office buildings, shopping malls and factories.

Cooling meters enable accurate billing, as they precisely measure the consumed cooling energy in the chilled water system. But beyond billing, the cooling meters are essential to optimize the distribution network and to minimize the production costs of chilled water.

An illustration of a district cooling plant

A typical architecture of how submetering works in Middle East

In a district cooling network cooling meters are installed on the inlet pipe to every building (the main meter). With submetering, additional cooling meters are installed throughout the building (submeters), which allow for individual billing as well as much better energy control and optimization within each building.

With differentiated insight and data, submetering benefits landlords, property management firms, condominium associations, homeowner associations, or other multi-tenant properties to bill tenants for individual measured utility usage. That also is in the interests of the end user, as they receive bills for their specific energy consumption. We also see, that tenants awareness on how they use energy enhances, and the consumption becomes more consciously.

Transparency puts you in control 

If the level of detail provided by your main meter is insufficient for your requirements, submetering can be a cost-efficient solution to enable the metering of separate areas within larger buildings. Applications include tenant billing for parts of a building, specific energy management targets within the same site.

One of the biggest benefits is the ability to provide more accurate billing to individual users, within high-rise, multi-tenant buildings and commercial properties. In addition, submetering has proven to provide both financial and operational cost savings to the building owners as per energy consumption drop. Submeters can be used to survey the cooling system operation, e.g. trace blockages and identify bottle-necks. But it will also enable optimizations for an unbalanced system to increase efficiency.

Our innovative wireless solutions feature bi-directional transmission, whereby meters are sending and receiving. This eliminates the need for numerous data concentrators, saving hardware cost and time during installation. At Kamstrup we can advise on all aspects of submetering from design, and project management to ongoing service provision, to find the solution that fits your needs and individual conditions best.

In practice

Discovery Gardens is Kamstrup’s largest project in the Middle East with thermal disconnection and retrofitting and a perfect example where district cooling meets submetering needs. The customer wanted to bill the tenants based on their actual cooling consumption instead of traditional rented area basis. Moreover, they were looking for a solution that can help reduce the operational cost and to provide better customer service to their tenants. They selected our smart metering solution. The ultrasonic smart meter with the thermal disconnect feature provides accurate meter data for billing and the automatic meter reading system has enabled operational efficiency, as there now is no need to manually go to each meter to take readings, thereby reducing the daily operations and maintenance costs. Read about the Emicool and Kamstrup project, Discovery Gardens, here.

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