Data Loggers are Too Expensive to Justify; Permanent Energy Instrumentation is the Only Solution.

Nov. 11, 2014

When the cost of the labor associated with using data loggers to collect spot data is considered, the practice is too expensive to be practical. Funding their use is just another example of paying engineers for preparing to save energy rather than paying them for actually saving energy.

Watson: I’ve been thinking Holmes and have decided that the use of Data loggers is too expensive to be practical.

Holmes: Data loggers are the basis of Energy Audits as promoted by DOE, most utility companies and just about every Energy Auditing course offered by the Association of Energy Engineers, Universities and all other training sources. What makes you say they are too expensive to be practical Watson?

Watson: Apparently no one considers the cost of the labor associated with using data loggers. During an energy audit, a data logger might be put on an air compressor for a week, then moved to a chiller for a week, then a lighting panel, etc. In order to analyze the data, each time the data logger is removed from a piece of equipment, it must be connected to a PC, the data downloaded to a spreadsheet and the spreadsheet formatted to present the data in a meaningful way.

And after all of that effort, what do you really have? You’ve only got a snapshot of Historical Data data covering the brief time period when the logger was installed. There is no Real-Time data. The engineer must then try to project how those systems will operate during an entire year, what improvements could be made by spending money on capital projects and estimate the costs and the savings using some type of modeling software.

Holmes: Engineers seem to have this talent to come up with the most complicated solutions for simple problems don’t they?

Watson: Why doesn’t everyone just install permanent instrumentation, an energy monitoring system at the beginning of each project? The cost of the sensors and man-hours required for installation are the same as a data logger. There is no downloading required as the reporting is automated and it is less expensive to install permanent instrumentation and leave it than to install, remove, download and format data from data loggers.

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