Remote measurement and verification

Note: this guidance was developed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, by its nature, the pandemic is an unexpected major non-routine event which will in many cases completely invalidate baselines developed before March 2020.  Readers should not expect this advice to remedy the resultant disruption to evaluations. It may prove to be applicable only to ‘retrofit isolation’  assessments and trials using extended sequences of on-off mode changes.

THIS GUIDANCE proposes enhancements to standard measurement and verification protocols to cover the situation where, for reasons beyond the control of the parties involved, a measurement and verification practitioner (MVP) is unable to participate in person.

Firstly the proposal for the energy-saving project should indicate not only the quantity or proportion by which consumption is expected to be reduced, but wherever possible the nature of the expected reduction. For example where data are to be analysed at weekly or monthly intervals, it may be possible to say whether reductions are expected in the fixed or variable components of demand or both; while for data collected at intervals of an hour or less it may be possible to define the expected change in daily demand profile or other parameters related to the pattern of demand.

Setting the expectations more precisely in this manner will help the MVP to detect whether post-implementation results may have been affected by unrelated factors.

Secondly a longer period than usual of pre-implementation data should be collected and analysed. This is necessary in order not only to establish prevailing levels of measurement and modelling uncertainty, but potentially to expose pre-existing irregularities in performance. Such monitoring should employ the same metering devices which will be used for post-implementation assessment.

The causes of historical irregular performance should be traced as they could provide clues about foreseeable non-routine events (NRE) which would then need to be allowed for in post-implementation assessment in case they recur. If NREs are not adequately allowed for, they will at best degrade the analysis and at worst lead to incorrect conclusions.

Thirdly, all parties should remember that as well as foreseeable NREs, there will be unforeseen ones as well. Dealing with is part of standard practice but because the appointed MVP is unable to visit the subject site and interview key personnel, he or she is likely to miss important clues about potential NREs which otherwise would have been evident based on his or her professional experience. It is therefore imperative that a planning teleconference takes place involving local personnel who are thoroughly conversant with the operation and maintenance of the facility. As part of this meeting a knowledgeable client representative should provide the MVP with a clear account of how the facility is used with particular emphasis on non-standard situations such as temporary closures. Pertinent input from client representatives at large would include (to give some examples) control set-points, time schedules, plant sequencing and duty-cycling regimes, occupation patterns, the nature and timing of maintenance interventions and so on. Information about other projects—both active and contemplated—should be disclosed. The MVP has a duty to probe and ask searching questions. It should never be assumed that something is irrelevant to the matter in hand and as a general rule no question asked by the MVP should go unanswered.

It may be helpful to provide the facility of a walk-through video tour for the benefit of the MVP, which can of course be on a separate occasion.

We will be holding this year’s measurement and verification conference, MAVCON20, as a weekly series of two-hour sessions in October and November.  Follow this link for details and booking information