Case Study: How A Top University Approaches Energy Management and Sustainability

New Jersey Institute of Technology Implemented A Submetering System At One of Its Incubators Within the Newark Campus

While US colleges and universities have traditionally been high-energy users, today, many are taking their role in energy efficiency and sustainability seriously.  

By taking a collaborative approach to university energy management and implementing cost-effective energy-efficiency measures, colleges and universities like the New Jersey Institute of Technology see considerable payoffs - environmentally and economically.

Summary
  • NJIT needed to recoup utility costs from high energy users. Instead of allocating utility cost by square foot, NJIT decided to install a robust submetering system.  This needed to be done to allocate the cost fairly between heavy and light users.
  • utiliVisor developed a customized system that streamlined tenant metering and utility recovery.
  • NJIT has a master plan from a technical and business standpoint. Plus, on-going oversight from a team of energy experts. 
  • NJIT can now allocate utility cost in an accurate, auditable and metered method per month in accordance with the utility rate.
Background

The New Jersey Institute of Technology, located in Newark, New Jersey, is one of the nation's leading polytechnic universities.

Part of the university's commitment to providing exceptional teaching, learning, and living environments includes the continual investment in the renewal of existing facilities as well as adding new energy-efficient spaces. 

NJIT has two incubator buildings on campus that house new companies and recent graduates. The college provides office space and labs to continue its efforts in encouraging entrepreneurship, innovation, and commercialization services.

Needs and Challenges

The university is providing office space to high energy users and labs: however, they were not recouping any of the utility costs.

To recover utility costs, the university needed a system that allowed them to visualize their energy data, take accurate energy readings, and provide timely and accurate billing to tenants. 

The university recognized that they would need a third party to create a submetering system and provide on-going monthly monitoring services to ensure accuracy in submetering and billing.

The Solution

After reading case studies from other universities, NJIT awarded the contract to utiliVisor, a leading energy advisory firm. utiliVisor offered a proven track record of helping universities visualize and streamline energy data, so that cost recovery was realized and benefited all parties involved. 

utiliVisor’s expertise in central district plants and large utility distribution networks proved especially beneficial in developing a holistic and personalized system that streamlines tenant metering and utility recovery.

utiliVisor would develop NJIT’s submetering system and provide accurate monthly billing while helping the university move its energy conservation and efficiency goals forward.

The Technical Details

To ensure the buildings were metered and billed accurately, utiliVisor designed a submetering system and submetering plan that will capture energy consumption of the tenants within the building; both office tenants with normal loads and lab tenants with heavy usage.

They furnished and programmed a start-up data collection system for new meters and infrastructure to accept real-time metering data. All meters were referenced tested and reconciled to the remote system. A monthly meter reading and submeter billing package generation were established. 

Office tenants receive a bill for their proportionate share of total floor electric costs, and lab tenants are metered down to the plug load of the space for granularity.

After surveying to determine consumption and cost to operate common areas, the common area costs were allocated based on a per square foot basis.

This cost appeared as a line item in the tenants’ monthly bill. Tenants would now receive appropriate utility bills that reflected accurate utility data.

Results

utiliVisor's holistic approach to utility data ensured that the submetering of tenants was accurate, timely, and fair based on revenue-grade meters. utiliVisor also went above and beyond by delivering a master plan - not only from a technical standpoint - but from a business standpoint.

The newly implemented meter process included a breakdown of the on-going roles and responsibilities, and the university continues to benefit from having energy experts providing monitoring of utility data on a granular level. 

“The collaborative approach to energy management, submetering, and billing is essential for universities that want to achieve energy efficiency and sustainability goals while recovering energy costs.”
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