The annual cost of producing, procuring and distributing utilities across the Texas A&M University campus has been about $80 million annually for the past three fiscal years. To ensure that the cost is properly allocated, utilities began the process of installing a robust utilities metering system. This system includes the metering of electricity, chilled water, heating hot water, domestic water/waste water, domestic hot water and steam. The metering system utilizes highly accurate devices for measuring consumption which is then electronically transmitted to a central database across the campus Ethernet. This data is utilized to produce monthly customer statements, plays a critical role in the building retro-commissioning program, trouble shooting the operation of the building and measuring the energy efficiency of campus buildings. (The retro-commissioning program is responsible for ensuring that campus buildings are operating both cost effectively and safely.) The data is also used to produce highly accurate cost estimates to be used for budgeting purposes. The metering system not only measures the consumption for cost allocation but also plays a key role in raising the awareness of energy conservation with campus customers and will play a key role in promoting campus sustainability. Prior to the installation of the meters, campus customers were simply billed based on the number of square feet the organization occupied. The square footage used did not necessarily tie back to FCOR data. The first step in this project was to ensure that the square footage used for metering matched the square footage in the FCOR database. The meters allow the customers to see the results of their conservation efforts and better enable them to financially participate in that effort.
In 1997, a pilot program was initiated to install utility meters in five campus buildings with the intent of developing a utilities metering and billing standard for the campus. During FY05, a yearlong effort was initiated to install over 850 meters in all Auxiliary facilities. By the start of FY06, these meters were online and data was being collected. Since the budget for the Auxiliaries had already been established, it was decided not to use the data for billing but to use the data to project FY07 consumption and cost for budgeting proposes. In FY07, the meters were used to recover utility cost associated with the Auxiliary customers. This installation further validated the value of metering. The decision was made to install meters in the facilities occupied by Agencies on campus which includes the installation of over 174 meters and data collection devices. This project is currently 95% complete and is expected to be fully complete by mid October 2008. Most recently, the decision was made to meter the remaining facilities that were assigned to E&G. This project is scheduled to start after the completion of the Agency metering project and will include over 660 meters.
With the completion of E&G metering, the majority of all utility consumption on campus will be metered. This will allow the University the opportunity to effectively focus on energy consumption reduction at the demand level. The data can be used to raise awareness of the cost to operate each building; further, it illustrates how energy conservation not only makes environmental sense but could actually free up more funds that could be used to fund academic programs.