BOSTON — With buildings under pressure to lower energy consumption, both to comply with legislation and to respond to market demand, the measurement and verification industry is rapidly moving toward real-time performance tracking, according to Lux Research. New entrants, both in sub-metering hardware and big data analytics, will help audit the 760 billion square feet of available building space, says the research firm.

“Today, sub-metering devices are now available to measure all types of building utilities, such as electricity, water, fuels, and heating or cooling input, with very high precision — but with a high cost to match,” said Alex Herceg, Lux Research analyst and lead author of the report titled, Proof in Performance – Improving BEMS (Building Energy Management Systems) through Measurement and Verification. “Still, as real-estate managers slowly adopt a data-driven approach, the demand for the devices that can deliver actionable insights will grow.”

Lux Research analysts examined the current landscape of measurement and verification offerings and found:

• Big opportunity for serving smaller buildings. Current offerings are not a good fit for buildings under 50,000 square feet — the cost is too high to justify the energy savings, says the firm. But a European Union (EU) directive calling for energy services aimed at this segment could lead to a new model for servicing small structures.

• Energy service companies (ESCOs) need to expand their reach. While measuring energy performance began as energy conservation measures for large institutional portfolios, it has been hobbled by the high initial cost of sub-metering infrastructure. ESCOs need to tailor their offerings to reach out to the broader commercial sector.

• Better energy modeling can be disruptive. Companies such as Sefaira and Retroficiencey are poised to democratize the market, replacing expensive energy modeling techniques and inadequate physics simulation engines, says Lux Research. Sefaira uses a cloud-based tool to rapidly prototype a building and assess energy impacts of design decisions. Similarly, Retroficiency’s Automated Energy Audit is a rapid-modeling tool to help engineers find opportunities for energy savings.

Publication date: 9/9/2013

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