Our office occupies one floor of a 4-story, one hundred year old building. We are making tenant-level improvements to our space, and are interested in lowering and monitoring our energy use, but are unable to install submetering or take significant savings for any changes we make, since we pay a flat percentage of the overall building’s utilities. We are currently not able to make massive systems changes.

Do you have any recommendations for energy monitoring without full-blown submetering?

2 Answers 2


Continue to push for sub-metering if you can - it really shouldn't be hard for your building owner or facilities manager to implement.

And on your own account, if you've got access to the main junction box, you should be able to install a clip-on electricity monitor and remote meter. In the Efergy example shown below, the three clips go one on each phase. That's a domestic model, but there are commercial versions too. The thing is, the clips have to go around the live cable - they won't work if they're clipped around a cable carrying more than one wires. If you've got access to such cables, then you don't need to cut them - the clips just open and clip around the insulation, and don't damage the cable in any way.

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There are monitors in development that will go around cables carrying live & neutral, or 3-phase & neutral, using a dense cluster of tiny magnets radially arranged. But the last I checked, they weren't on the market yet.

That takes care of the electricity. I think monitoring heat / cooling will be harder: there are noninvasive ways to measure temperature and flow, but I haven't yet seen them integrated into a heat meter.


Why not discuss cost-sharing arrangements with the building owner and other tenants? For example, if everyone pays per bulb for lighting upgrades in spaces they pay the bill for, the whole building gets the upgrade and every tenant should see the benefits. Splitting the cost of building upgrades with the owner and other tenants will allow you to avoid sharing savings you paid for with others through the percentage system because they will have paid for their share of the savings. Cost sharing might allow for mechanical systems improvements that make the building more comfortable for everyone, without a single party footing the bill.

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