Ahead of Schedule
UGA purchased its initial meter in
November 2006. The meter’s flexibility
provided a significant benefit early on.
With no flow metering in place for reference, UGA was, in essence, operating
blind in the initial sizing of the first meter.
Fortunately, a DP meter with wide rangeability could be easily dialed in with a
simple re-ranging of the DP transmitter.
After a few months of operation,
UGA decided that the flow meter would
meet and even exceed expectations.
Several campus housing buildings had
condensate meters for billing purposes.
These meters, however, provided highly
erratic readings causing UGA to question
their accuracy. The new steam meter
readings, however, have been very consistent. The university compared the
new meter with an established condensate meter in one location and noticed
that in the established meter, condensate
kept recording less and less until it
stopped entirely, causing concern for the
accuracy of all condensate meters.
The campus now has several of the
new flow meters installed. In the next
few months, 31 meters will be in place,
with approximately 75 left to purchase
and install. UGA decided to meter the
housing buildings first because these
readings are used for billing. The university will end up with 106 meters, as
some buildings will have more than one
meter because of multiple steam services resulting from building expansions.
Having accurate and reliable flow
measurement is appreciated not only by
the engineers who specified the meter,
but also by those responsible for the
installation. The engineers’ chief specification was that the meter be installed
with zero straight-run requirements in
existing piping arrangements. In many
cases throughout the campus, installation of a different meter would have
required cutting into the existing piping
and adding additional straight lengths of
pipe. Many buildings would have required
a steam header overhaul, which would
have been very costly and time-consuming.
Instead, installation time was shortened without the space requirements of
10 diameters before and 5 diameters
after. The new meters have allowed for
much less downtime, requiring four to
six hours to install one – as opposed to
two or three days for other types of meters.
As a result, the steam metering
installation has been ahead of schedule
and should be completed in a total of
two years instead of the five-year goal
originally planned. UGA hopes that the
full implementation of Btu metering will
thus be achieved earlier as well.
Currently the data are displayed
locally and recorded monthly by a meter
reader. In the future, UGA will tie the
data into a new campus building automation system, currently under development, to receive the data remotely.
Technical Support Is Key
An important and often overlooked
element in successful flow measurement
installation and operation is the coordination between the university staff or
contractor, the manufacturer and the
local sales representative. Most flow meters
are not stand-alone units. They require
secondary instrumentation such as DP
transmitters, flow computers and/or
recorders to gather and compile the data.
Hands-on knowledge of the primary and
secondary equipment and the willingness to provide technical support for the
entire system is critical in today’s business environment.
To the staff at UGA, the service and
engineering support tied to a product is,
in some cases, more important than the
product itself. As UGA’s Spradley states,
“In this instance, our Veris representative has provided technical knowledge
and startup support that has made our
mechanical installation much simpler,
our downtime much shorter and our
limited space issues easier to deal with.”
The representative assisted UGA with
installation suggestions and sizing calculations that best fit each individual
building’s application, resulting in accurate steam flow readings at both high
flow and low flow conditions.
Considering UGA’s large campus with
its diverse architecture and infrastructure
constructed over the span of two centuries,
one can appreciate the ingenuity demanded
of the individuals responsible for the
physical plant. Being responsible for the
quality of the campus’s physical environment – while protecting and enhancing
the natural environment around them –
is a serious responsibility to bear.
UGA’s physical plant staff has welcomed the challenge. Their determination
to get a better handle on campus energy
Courtesy University of Georgia. Photo Jeff Lewis, Abbey Mec-Tric.
Flow meter installed and insulated at the
University of Georgia.
consumption and efficiency is an important example. UGA believes that its use of
steam metering technology has the university on the right path to accomplish
its goal of reducing energy use per square
foot by at least 10 percent in 10 years.
Ken B. Crowe is director of
energy services at the University of
Georgia. With UGA since 1997, he
previously served in the physical
plant division as business manager
and assistant director of maintenance. Prior his employment at UGA, he worked
for 13 years with Georgia Power Co. Crowe is
a 1988 graduate of the Georgia Institute of
Technology, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. He also
holds an MBA from Brenau University. His email
address is firstname.lastname@example.org
John E. Good is vice president
of operations of Veris Inc., which
he co-founded in 1989. He has
been involved with all company
functions including sales and marketing, product development and
customer service. Good and Veris are members
of the Instrument Society of America and IDEA.
Prior to founding the company, Good co-founded
Matrix Business Systems in Boulder, Colo., providing sales, technical support and business
planning to small- and mid-sized companies in
the flow measurement and instrumentation
industry. He may be reached at email@example.com.