Consumption Monitoring is an essential part of any strategy of cost reduction since energy is billed almost entirely based upon the metered energy use, whether it is about gas or electrical energy.
It is highly beneficial to understand what amount of energy you use and how it varies on a daily basis. While general monthly assessment are relevant, they do not capture sudden energy requirements and periods closer to idling.
Peak periods are particularly stressful for your activity and may have the largest impact on cost.
While there are separate, dedicated devices to monitor energy use of certain devices, particularly for electrical energy consumers, the easiest way is to make readouts of metering devices installed by your utility providers.
For detail assessments, point measuring devices as highly useful but for general purpose monitoring, meters on the premise are sufficient.
Identifying the metering point
The metering point should be fairly straightforward positioned, either near the consumption point or close to the premise. While readouts are always taken by the utility provider, the actual location may be easy or difficult to access.
It is recommended to always have good visual contact with the analog or digital meter readout. If necessary, clean the front part of the meter with a small, dry, non-abrasive cloth.
Note that digital readout meters may require some time until the screen cycle and shows the current index. If in doubt, verify the readout after the first reading.
Readouts should be made consistently. Make sure that you can commit to a certain schedule of reading the meter's index value. It can be a daily or weekly occurence, but it has to be made relatively regularly.
Always write down a precise index, including decimals. This ensures that small variations in consumption or even very low idle consumption can be revealed.
Every time a readout is made, date and time has to be specified. This is essential both for immediate reference as well as to adequately compensate for values read less consistently, where consumption estimates are made on a larger or smaller timespan.
Note that gas meter readings can show very small daily difference, if there is no large heating requirement or your activity does not require cooking with gas appliances. Home gas stoves have a much smaller impact on consumption than large business ones.
It is always advised to insert small comments on the spot or after readouts, clarifying what kind of consumption pattern was experienced. Details such as idle, busy, normal day can be important to interpret data. Also, if a device is added or taken out of use, it should be noted. The impact may or may not be large, but the actual situation can be better understood.
|Date and time||Electricity index (kw/h)||Gas index (m3)||Comments|
|2022, the 27th of April 9:10||4028.6||320.683||Typical day|
|2022, the 27th of April 20:00||4032.2||321.057||Cold evening|
|2022, the 28th of April 8:57||4033.5||321.121||Busy day|
|2022, the 28th of April 21:00||4039.4||321.602|
|2022, the 29th of April ----:----|
A long run of data should be kept in a physical notepad or a digital spreadsheet. It is better to keep records in digital format as they can be more easily analised. Keep in mind that there will be large variations in consumption due to particular weather conditions or activity changes but it is essential to see how these variations take place.
There are three large classes of devices for consumption monitoring. Note that most electrical devices have a label that indicates typical energy consumption. Unfortunately no such information is presented for gas powered devices, the only details in this case are presented in manufacturers' product datasheet.
Keep in mind that high powered devices may not be impactful to energy consumption if they are rarely used. Heating and cooling requirements are probably the largest cause of concern for high electrical or gas consumption. Changing their operation requires a thorough analysis that considers your current activity needs and specifics.
Larger and smaller consumers
Large consumers (1 kilowatt and more absorbed power) are heating, cooling, food preparation and refrigeration equipment. There may be other devices that have a similar impact. Cleaning equipment can also have an impact but it will be relatively smaller due to infrequent use.
Clothing care equipment such as irons, washing machines, tumble dryers can also have a large electrical energy consumption if used frequently. Elevators inside a residential or commercial building also have a large impact on consumption for the building owner.
Medium consumption equipment (100-500Watts) includes home stoves and desktop computers. Depending on their purpose and frequency of use, their impact their consumption may be higher or smaller. Typical desktop computers have a much lower energy consumption than server or workstation class devices.
Some large old LCD TVs can use quite a lot of energy. Older lighting technology such as high wattage outdoor or indoor lighting fixtures using incandescent or high intensity discharge lamps have a higher impact on consumption than LED lighting.
Smaller consumers are modern LED lighting, laptops, tablets, phones, various sensing and monitoring equipment. Note that despite their smaller impact, the permanent, 24 hours a day, operation of such devices may still have some impact on cost.