Installing the wrong meters is costing millions of pounds of wasted energy every year, according to one of the sector’s leading experts.
Founder of MWA Technology, Martin Wardell believes industry’s is facing a growing trend for not specifying or installing the right type of meters on projects, with the market not having the necessary knowledge to rectify issues before installation.
This is leaving building management specialists in the unenviable position of having inconsistent data and poor life expectancy on their meters, which can impact on their ability to make informed decisions.
There is also the very real risk of the safe and efficient operation of gas appliances being compromised.
Wardell explained: “It’s not a new problem. However, we have definitely seen an increase in the last six months of organisations coming back to us to rectify the wrong installations.
“The sector has a much bigger workload and is under pressure to keep costs down on building services. A lot of time they are leaving it to the market to advise and they are often going with the option that suits them best rather than what will be the most effective solution in the long-term.”
“Industry tends to choose the lowest cost option without understanding the full implications around accuracy and reliability of the data.”
The MWA chief – who has more than 20 years experience in the industry – believes a good “rule of thumb” is to follow the practice of UK utilities and install meters according to their criteria, as you can trust the data for many years to come.
He continued: “It might make sense at the time, but if the meter isn’t selected correctly in the first instance then you will never be able to make informed decisions on energy usage and how you can improve it.
“We have examples of firms that can’t account for £200,000 of electricity, or low grade mechanical water meters giving up the ghost after 18 months.
“The most worrying aspect from a health and safety perspective, is installing a check gas meter that exhibits an excessive pressure drop between the incoming supply and the appliance. This can lead to the safe and efficient operation of the appliance being compromised or impaired.”
Technical knowledge has been one of the key drivers behind MWA Technology’s recent growth, which has seen it reach £5m sales for the first time in its 22-year history.
The company currently supplies more than 500 gas, water, electric, oil, steam and energy and heat metering solutions to distributors, contractors, OEMs and energy monitoring professionals, with high profile projects completed at Oxford University, Kew Gardens and Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre and New Street Station.
Recent investment has doubled the size of its West Midlands logistics and warehouse operation to 20,000 sqft, accompanied with a concerted recruitment drive, means the firm can call upon more than 15 experts to deal with customer enquiries at any one time.