Measuring Electrical Consumption in Building Automation Systems

Building Automation Systems (BAS) help property managers regulate the use of energy in commercial spaces, saving property operators time and businesses money. Their utility in streamlining building equipment such as HVAC, lighting, plug loads, and others is on the rise in the U.S. and across the world. Some companies are taking advantage of building automation systems in order to make a profit. The idea is that you can control the temperature, electricity, lighting, and more through wireless communication.

One of the most beneficial uses of a BAS is in measuring electrical consumption. According to, “the findings of the PNNL study, published in May 2017, show that installing currently developed and properly tuned controls could cut commercial building energy consumption by approximately 29% — equivalent to 4-5 Quads, or 4-5% of energy consumed nationwide.” The U.S. Department of Energy, Better Building Challenge, found that “on average, 20-30% of industrial energy use is wasted. Hence why measuring the electrical consumption in a BAS is so critical to success of the system.

Use an Electric Meter to Measure Electrical Consumption

The first thing you’ll want to do is install electric meters to measure the current electrical consumption in your property. The electric meter is a good way to measure the amount of energy used by appliances and devices. Electric meters can measure based on a communication protocol (IP, Serial), pulse output, radio frequency reader, or wireless pulse counters, depending on your needs.

Some electric meters don’t have a meter reader. Instead, they use digital communication to send the information about how much electricity you’ve used back to the automation system. In “smart buildings,” your electric utility usage can be measured through internet-connected advanced utility meters, which captures accurate, real-time data about electrical consumption in building automation systems. Advanced utility meters are more efficient than traditional ones and they make it easier to get a better handle on your energy usage. For example, a lot of people have started using them because they allow you to monitor changes in your electricity rates for different times of day.

Sync Up to Your Building Automation Systems Platform

Most Edison clients choose to access their data through a BAS management platform, which can then allow them to view and compare current data to historical data, as well as gather other insight on their electrical consumption for specific equipment, specific units, or the entire property. Many clients choose to use a BAS management platform because it helps them minimize the risks that come with managing their own data.

Related: 5 Ways Building Information Saves You Time and Money

Incorporate Weather Analysis

Another option for captured data is to incorporate weather analysis into your measurements to see what effect configuring your system based on weather patterns has on your electrical consumption. The idea of incorporating weather analysis into building automation measurements is not a new one. In fact, it has been around for over forty years. A report produced by Berkley Lab states, “two primary sources of weather data that are used to generate weather data files used in building simulation: measured weather data using physical sensors and observations, and simulated data using mathematical weather models.”

Measuring electrical consumption in your building automation system will allow you to allocate resources more effectively, avert problems before they arise, and better plan for the future. Most of all, the information you gather will help you make the right decisions that will ultimately help you cut down on your energy use, leading to lower expenditures on electricity.

Related: Lighting Control in Your Building Automation System

Would you like to find out what it would take to install a building automation and control systems or electric meters in the Northern Virginia, and surrounding areas? Contact us today for a quick consultation.

Edison Power and Controls

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