Team Develops New Tools for Measurement and Verification (M&V) of Energy Savings

April 20, 2004

Measurement and Verification (M&V) of energy savings is an evolving practice which requires special planning and engineering approaches. It is also integral to Super ESPC projects. The Federal Energy Management Program continues to provide leadership in developing innovative tools to improve the quality of M&V in federal energy projects. To leverage these efforts across the entire federal sector, FEMP's Super ESPC Program has teamed with the Department of Defense and private sector energy services companies (ESCOs) to create the federal M&V Team.

The M&V Team is a network of experts that meets regularly to improve the quality and consistency of M&V practices. The group operates through working groups that are convened to address specific issues. The M&V Team has been meeting since October 2000, and holds periodic "M&V Summits" to present the findings of the working groups, discuss timely issues related to M&V, and plan future working group activities.

Current active working groups are 1) Commissioning, 2) Advanced Metering, 3) O&M Reporting, and 4) Plan & Reporting Integration. New tools developed by past working groups include the Annual Reporting Outline, the M&V Planning Tool, and the curriculum for a half-day FEMP M&V training class. These tools and associated materials can be downloaded from http://ateam.lbl.gov/mv.

Annual Reporting Outline

The Annual Reporting Working Group was formed in June 2002 as a result of a due diligence review of Super ESPC annual performance reports. The review was conducted in response to the 2001 FEMP customer survey recommendation stating that FEMP should help participants understand the level of savings actually achieved in projects. The Super ESPC review indicated that annual reports were inconsistent in format and quality and there was opportunity for substantial improvement. Since the purpose of the annual performance report is to confirm the achieved savings, improving the reporting format was an obvious way to help agencies better understand their energy savings.

The Annual Reporting Working Group developed an outline that details a comprehensive reporting format for annual measurement & verification reports for all federal performance based energy projects. In addition to providing placeholders for M&V activities, this outline includes reporting on operations and maintenance activities. Currently, the use of this reporting format is being tested by one of the M&V Team�s ESCO partners on an actual Super ESPC project. Although this format is not yet incorporated into federal contracts, it is available and is recommended for use on all projects.

M&V Planning Tool

Flowchart describing M&V Planning Steps described in text.

The M&V Planning Tool Working Group developed an iterative exercise designed to help develop appropriate M&V strategies suited to the unique requirements of individual projects. It is based on a simple flowchart, and provides a flexible framework for introducing key issues related to M&V at an early phase in project development. The four steps to using the M&V Planning Tool are discussed below, and match the step numbers in the flow chart.

  1. The first step requires the development of a custom list of objectives and constraints for the project. Goals and limitations that will affect the M&V plan for individual energy conservation measures (ECMs) as well as for the whole project must be considered and prioritized.

  2. The next step requires evaluating various M&V Options in light of the objectives and constraints identified. If one of the high priority project level objectives or constraints is not met, then another M&V Option should be selected for evaluation.

  3. If objectives and constraints are properly satisfied, then the savings risk associated with the selected M&V Option(s) should be evaluated. To properly assess and allocate risks, a custom list of variables should be developed based on project specifics. Example variables are operating hours, equipment performance, weather, building occupancy, environmental/process loads, changes to the facilities, etc. A carefully-crafted M&V plan will disseminate these risks appropriately. Another document, the Responsibility Matrix from the FEMP M&V Guidelines, includes a detailed discussion of the risk elements and how they should be allocated.

  4. The next step requires estimating the cost of using the selected M&V Option(s) in relation to savings risks. Consider whether or not the M&V requirements and the savings risk justify the M&V expenses. If not, another method should be selected for evaluation. If all the M&V requirements are met and the savings risk justifies the M&V expenses, proceed with the development of the M&V plan for the project.

Some typical objectives and constraints for M&V are listed below.

Typical ObjectivesTypical Constraints
Desire to track energy savings through utility metering (or)Historical utility data not available
Desire to verify energy performance continuously (or)Lack of building level utility meters
Desire to verify energy performance periodicallyHigh degree of interaction between ECMs
Track post-retrofit consumption and adjust baseline for changes in weather, occupancy, mission, etc.ECMs scope affects a small portion of overall utility baseline
Maximize infrastructure improvements by utilizing least-cost M&V optionNo energy management control system available for data acquisition
Ensure equipment performance for life of contract
Quantify savings from ECM

M&V Training Class

The M&V Training Working Group has developed an M&V course that specifically targets the needs of federal projects. The working group developed the curriculum and materials for such a class after federal needs were evaluated against commercially-available courses, and it was determined that a FEMP-specific introductory class to M&V was required.

This half-day FEMP M&V course, Measurement and Verification for Super ESPC Projects, is offered with the Super ESPC Delivery Order (DO) Workshop, March 23-24, in Golden CO.

The training materials developed for this class, in the form of PowerPoint slides and notes, are available for all to use from the Applications Team at LBNL.

For more information, please contact Satish Kumar at 202-646-7953.