Meeting Today’s Latest Energy Standards with Today’s Latest Panelboards

Submetering used to only be an issue for landlords of multitenant 
buildings, but new energy standards are adding new submetering 
requirements for a range of commercial facilities, even those that are 
fully owner occupied. Electrical contractors involved in specifying 
panelboards should be familiar with these new provisions, as it could 
impact the products they order for projects in jurisdictions 
incorporating these standards into to their building codes. GE Industrial

Chuck Ross

Submetering used to only be an issue for landlords of multitenant buildings, but new energy standards are adding new submetering requirements for a range of commercial facilities, even those that are fully owner occupied. Electrical contractors involved in specifying panelboards should be familiar with these new provisions, as it could impact the products they order for projects in jurisdictions incorporating these standards into to their building codes.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 90.1 is the most influential energy standard, and various editions have been adopted into building codes in most U.S. states. The 2013 edition, introduced Jan. 1, 2014, added requirements in Section 8.4.2.1 for monitoring capabilities to track each of the following, individually:

  • Total electricity use
  • Heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems
  • Interior lighting
  • Exterior lighting
  • Receptacle circuits

In multitenant buildings, equivalent system-level monitoring must be provided for each tenant space.

Electrical contractors have a couple options for meeting these requirements, including installing a separately metered panelboard for each system to be monitored. This approach could quickly become cumbersome and take up too much room. Alternatively, the latest generation of panelboard products now incorporates metering at the branch-circuit level. The price for this added capability has dropped significantly over the last five years or so, especially when one considers the labor savings in having energy monitoring integrated into a panel, with now added labor required.

Also, of course, are the savings a building owner could achieve once these branch-circuit monitoring capabilities are put to use. With easier measurement of energy use, owners can gain a better understanding of how best to manage their buildings’ operations. This can mean a win/win solution for both the owner’s bottom line and, with related reductions in energy use, the environment, as well.


Photo courtesy of GE Industrial

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