M&V "Universal Translator" Tool

For this project funded by the California Energy Commission, QuEST teamed with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), PG&E, Taylor Engineering, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to add M&V and Fault Detection Modules to PG&E’s Universal Translator (UT). QuEST’s M&V Tool development project addresses a long-standing need in the industry to streamline the M&V of energy savings projects in commercial buildings, and overcome the general perception that it is too cumbersome, complex, and costly. The project takes advantage of the interval energy data streams that have become more available with improved metering and communication technologies, existing research on energy modeling and uncertainty, and software that prepares data for analysis. This research and tool development project will:

  • Access and build upon available research on existing building energy modeling techniques, including multivariate energy modeling;
  • Identify and develop models that can be used at the whole building or building subsystem level;
  • Investigate the amount of data required to develop rigorous energy models, and determine the effect of short data sets on savings estimates;
  • Develop uncertainty analysis that will be used to assess a model’s ability to verify expected savings before project start, annualize savings based on limited data, and state savings with associated uncertainty, and
  • Develop persistence monitoring procedures based on the energy models and their uncertainty, in order to provide the necessary feedback to building operators and service providers to help maintain efficient performance after projects are completed.

The research results will be documented in a report and associated software specifications. We will develop an M&V software application as a module for PG&E’s UT, an extremely useful tool that merges data from different sources and prepares it for analysis. The M&V Tool Module will be a widely distributed software tool available to the public free of charge through PG&E’s website (www.utonline.org). In its development, extensive internal and external tool testing will be performed, and tool demonstrations will be held for program managers, project implementers, and program evaluators to encourage its adoption. We will also seek review, acceptance, and promotion through PG&E, SCE, and other energy efficiency program sponsors, as well as industry organizations such as EVO and ASHRAE, and other interested organizations.