Cutting down on energy costs can be tricky; faulty machinery, older technology and inefficient equipment make spending more money on energy than necessary, easy to do. Fortunately, there are ways to identify when it’s time to reinvest in the efficiency of your hotel, your retail space or your industrial plant. Flow metering is a great way to help make your business more efficient and save on energy consumption – and costs.

What is flow metering?

Flow meters are installed to track the consumption of individual processes across the plant. More specifically, they are used to measure the rate of liquids and gases, or the rate of flow or quantity of a moving fluid in an open or closed conduit. According to resources like Natural Solutions, Plant Engineering and the EDN Network, flow meters monitor the performance of various HVAC systems responsible for improving the overall efficiency of your business.

There are a number of ways in which flow meters can help you and your business save on energy costs. Information gathered from flow meters typically allow you to: form a better picture of steam consumption; provide opportunities to reduce equipment maintenance; and identify machines that are running inefficiently. How you use flow meters will depend on the both the business, and the industry.

What are the various methods and types of flow metering?

Flow meters can be divided into four groups including mechanical type flow meters, inferential type flow meters, electrical type flow meters, and others.

According to Plant Engineering, the methods of measuring the flow of liquids, gases and steam vary. The most widely used method is known as differential pressure, commonly used for natural gas boilers, air ducts, combustion intakes, boiler stacks and chilled water applications. Differential pressure meters are a kind of traditional flow meter, which are reported by sources like the EDN Network to have lower accuracy and require greater maintenance than their new counterparts.

Of these newer technologies, one of the most popular is known as electromagnetic, commonly used for hot and chilled water applications. Another flow meter, known as Vortex technology, is ideal for measuring energy consumption in HVAC systems with fluctuating temperatures such as burners, boilers and compressed air systems. Both electromagnetic and vortex meters are able to measure both saturated and superheated steam and have no moving parts, meaning they are easier to maintain.

A popular choice for retrofit projects where the pipeline cannot be isolated, clamp-on ultrasonic flow meters are capable of taking accurate measurements at any velocity. The benefits of clamp-on technology include flexibility due to externally mounted sensors. Because there is no disruption or cutting of the pipes, these meters are also quick and cheap to both install and maintain. According to Siemens, one country club in New York hoping improve the air conditioning and heating of suites and apartments invested in a clamp-on ultrasonic flow meter which resulted in a savings of more than $100,000 a year on utility bills (read more about this case study online).

Do you use a flow meter? We’re always on the lookout for success stories in the making. Interested in energy-efficient equipment that can save you money and lower energy costs? Check out these great incentives and rebates and start saving, today.

image credit: M Norris