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RCM Exchange

Resource Accounting

"What Gets Measured Gets Managed"

The RCM needs to understand utility bills, rate schedules and the service provider’s terminology in order to track and analyze consumption data, and use this data to guide efficiency efforts. Diligent tracking allows the RCM to promptly identify billing errors or excessive consumption so corrective action can be taken.

Resource accounting typically applies to these resources and services:

  • Energy: electricity, natural gas, oil, propane
  • Water
  • Sewer
  • Garbage
  • Recycling
  • Transportation fuels

See Resource Billing Basics for details on how these resources are typically measured and billed. Use the Baseline Data Form to help you record base-year data for each facility and meter. This data is necessary to calculate potential savings and revenues from future efficiency measures.

Know Your Utility and Service Providers

It is important to understand the details of each utility or service program for your facility. Get to know your utility representative and service providers to stay current with efficiency offerings and incentives they may provide.

Carefully study each provider’s billing process, rates and fee structures to ensure your facility is taking advantage of discounts. Review the billing history to familiarize yourself with previous expenditures. Billing errors are not uncommon — refunds and immediate savings are the reward for tracking them down.

See Electric Rate Basics to understand how consumption charges, demand charges and power factor are calculated for electricity.

Know Your Meters

You will need to become familiar with all of the facility’s meters. The Facility Survey Form will help you locate and identify your meters. If your facility has electronic digital meters, your utility may be able to provide daily load profiles. Load profiles are useful in understanding how energy is consumed at a facility.

You can quickly document electricity load profiles to determine the electrical load for each meter. Note initial meter readings, and repeat your readings in 10 to 20 minutes. Collect this information during typical usage patterns and at different times of the year to help you develop load profiles for each facility.

Track Usage

A key element of an effective RCM program is accurately tracking energy and resource use over time. The information in this Resource Accounting factsheet will help you get started.

As you monitor resources, be aware of the following factors that can increase consumption costs:

Electricity

  • Equipment operating at inappropriate times
  • Energy management control system (EMCS) not programmed to match occupancy patterns
  • The EMCS battery, which protects the customer-programmed schedules, has failed and the factory-installed default program is operating
  • 100 percent outside air provided for ventilation during hot or cold weather conditions
  • Incorrect meter reading 
  • Leaky ducts in electrical HVAC systems
  • Engine block heaters operating uncontrolled
  • Incorrect multiplier applied to meter reading

Natural Gas

  • Equipment left on when not needed (uncontrolled)
  • EMCS not programmed to match occupancy patterns
  • The EMCS battery has failed and the factory-installed default program is operating
  • HVAC system providing 100 percent outside air for ventilation during cold weather conditions
  • Leaky ducts in gas-fired systems
  • A major leak in the heating distribution lines from steam or hot water boilers
  • Incorrect meter reading 
  • Incorrect multiplier applied to meter reading

Oil and Propane

  • Equipment left on when it is not needed (uncontrolled)
  • EMCS not programmed to match occupancy patterns
  • The EMCS battery failed and the factory-installed default program is operating
  • HVAC system providing 100 percent outside air for ventilation during cold weather conditions
  • A major leak in the heating distribution lines from steam or hot water boilers
  • A leak in the underground tank or lines to the boiler

Water

  • Leaks (domestic use or irrigation)
  • Incorrect reading of the water meter
  • Plumbing fixtures stuck in the on (or flush) position
  • Auto-flush urinals with high-volume flushing

Garbage

  • Illegal or unauthorized dumping into facility Dumpsters
  • Service provided for partially filled or empty Dumpsters
  • Recyclable items in the garbage


The following tools can help reduce consumption: