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Thread: Sub-meter

  1. #1
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    We are the mechanical on a 148 unit senior housing project. Each unit will have a magic-pak gas /electric thru the wall unit. I gave the G.C. a C.O. a 108K proposal to install natural gas sub-meters for each unit. The local utility will only meter the complete building. The owner / operator would like to bill each tenant. The 108K is too big (not my margin). Does anyone have an idea on remote runtime heat use? Each unit is to have a stand alone t-stat. All 148 units are the same btu/hr.

  2. #2
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    If all things are equal then why not just divide the gas bill by 148?

  3. #3
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    The building has a heated parking garage, large domestic hotwater heaters, common area rooftops and hallway furnaces. The owner does not want to convert to electric heat in the residences. The owner wants a way to “push” some of the operation costs to the residents that will be excessive users.

  4. #4
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    Better check with your state government agency on that. I've heard of some considering the owner that is sub-metering out the utilities as a utility company and that gets the owner into a big mess with taxes, licensing and other issues in a hurry. Others may verify what I've said but I've only heard of it, don't know anyone personally.
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  5. #5
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    meter the current to the gas valve.never heard of it before,you might be the first

  6. #6
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    I will do some homework on taxes and liability. The local gas utility NICOR stated they see this a lot and suggested that we install the sub-meters for the residences.

    I am hoping someone may have used a Lon system that could log heating runtime. It’s a shame they do not have a DDC system to operate the building.

  7. #7
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    Well, tough to do with those cheap, not-so-magic-pak units.

    It would have been easier to BTU meter flow with hot water.

    Most controllers can calculate run-time on inputs/outputs.
    Maybe look up gas flow meters.

    Meter

    These wingnuts at least have Modbus which you could then tie into an ilon100 server an aggregate data and have a server to setup individual billing to the residents.

  8. #8
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    Sysint, I checked with my Magic-pak rep. today he said yet do not offer a factory mounted controller. It looks like my best option is a networked T7350 or a similar device. I am worried the “older” residents will find a networked t-stat a complicated device.

    Your recommened meter would be great but big $/point.The problem is keeping $/point low and the network wire is the killer. Today I looked at a simple digital hour meter connected to the W side to the unit. I should be able to do an hour meter for $300 / point. The operator would have to have the resident or maintenance staff read the hour meter at each furnace closet.

  9. #9
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    Your big problem isn't the money - it's following the regulations regarding sub metering which is looking for a meter, not a thermostat.

  10. #10
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    And if I was (maybe I am already) one of those old folks, I would not be happy to get charged for heat when thermostat is calling but my unit may be busted and not heating. How long does it take for a average tech to get to site? 1,2,3,... hours.
    Just because W is on does not mean the unit is heating, especially if you are going to charge for it.

    [Edited by amigo on 10-25-2005 at 02:42 PM]

  11. #11
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    I think your application can be solved with a wireless metering device. I know that EnFlex has done projects like this.

    Contact Gerry Lands @enflex.net. He can help if anyone can.

  12. #12
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    Thanks to all for the valuable information. The owner has elected to have me install a submeter at each furnace. The design requires a maintenance person to enter each space to read the meter. I had quoted meters in a common space but it boiled down to a $ question. The use of run time was appealing due to low first cost but since it was not a direct flow rate it was not considered. Electronic meters tied to a network were big $/ point. On the legal side, the owners counsel is doing the homework on submetering. As of now, the owner can not make a profit on the gas as per Illinois law and the leases will have to inform the renters how the billing will work.

    Steve

  13. #13
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    "As of now, the owner can not make a profit on the gas as per Illinois law and the leases will have to inform the renters how the billing will work."

    Does the gas company make a profit? Something tells me if you are responsible for sub-meters you can charge for their proper maintenance.

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