UBC Graduate Research

Heating Energy Sub-metering : [Measuring building energy savings from metering heating energy] Nassar, Ramy


UBC Properties Trust (UBCPT) is the office at UBC that is responsible for the development and operation of institutional, office, and residential buildings in UBC. With a focus on sustainability and how to develop a sustainable community, UBCPT is looking to study the effect of energy sub-metering in promoting a sustainable resident behavior. UBCPT is currently developing the first mixed use building (Site-D) at UBC that would apply energy sub-metering. Since electricity is already sub-metered, this project focuses on heat energy sub-metering in residential buildings. Site-D is a mixed-use building designed aiming for REAP certification. It consists of a commercial area located at the ground level, and five levels of residential units. To conduct the study monthly heating energy data for Site-B, a recently constructed REAP certified mixed-use building at UBC, was supplied. Site-B has been in operation since July 2017. Unlike Site-D, Site-B had no heating energy sub-metering applied, the provided data was an aggregate of the heat energy consumed in the building for both space heating and Domestic hot water (DHW), there was no data for DHW consumptions at Site-B. Energy data (Space heating, DHW) for four residential buildings located at Main land Vancouver, with similar build characteristics, was collected over the course of two years starting from December 2015 to December 2017. The data was then analysed and processed to establish a benchmark model for space heating energy usage in sub-metered buildings. The benchmark model was then used to benchmark the residential part of Site-B. Analysis of the collected data revealed that DHW consumption is consistent throughout the year, which facilitated the estimation of the DHW heating load for Site-B. A baseline model for Site-B space heating was then established and measured to the benchmark model. Space heating energy savings of about 25% was calculated from applying the benchmark model for the same period of operation of Site-B, from October 2017 to September 2018. Similar reductions in GHG emissions and operational cost savings could be recognised. Yielding a payback period of eight years when sub-metering is applied. A baseline model for Site-D Space heating energy consumption was established by readjusting the benchmark model to the total space area for Site-D. This base line model could be used to predict the energy consumption throughout the year. However, a better baseline model would be established after Site-D becomes operational, where actual consumptions data would be collected and analysed. To follow on this study, it is recommended to apply partial sub-metering for Site-B Units, where selected units with different surface areas would be sub-metered and compared to other units that are not sub-metered. This would help fine tune the benchmark model to represent the sub-metered buildings with the same build characteristics. Moving forward to realise the change in residents’ behaviour when sub-metering is applied, it is recommended to operate Site-D similar to Site-B’s billing operation for one year, then switch to submetering for another year. As suggested by literature, providing residents with a means to know about their energy consumption, would create awareness of energy use, and promote energy conservation. "A Capstone Project" Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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