Measure and monitor energy use in your business

Last updated: 6 September 2022

Measuring and monitoring your equipment is essential to manage energy use, costs and productivity in your business.

Understanding how and when your equipment uses energy will give you a baseline to track and report improvements, and compare against other sites. It will continuously identify opportunities to:

  • operate more efficiently
  • reduce how much energy you use
  • manage your energy costs
  • repair equipment as soon as it stops working efficiently.

By making sure your business is energy efficient, you’re doing your part in lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

Measure your baseline

Understand your electricity and gas bills

Call your energy provider or visit their website to check your energy profile from your smart meter. Analyse your energy profile to understand how much energy your facility uses.

Install gas and electricity meters to measure equipment energy use

Hire a registered electrician or plumber to install gas or electricity meters in your equipment.

Electricity meters are generally simple for a registered electrician to install. A certified plumber may need to partially or completely shut down the plant to install gas meters.

There are three ways to measure your energy use. Measure at the:

  • facility level to understand how much energy your whole facility is using
  • system level to understand how much energy each system uses. For example, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are made up of sub systems such as chillers, pumps and fans.
  • subsystem level to understand how much energy specific equipment uses.

Different types of meters

  • Smart meters measure and monitor your facility gas and electricity use and display it online.
  • Smart clamp-on energy meters measure motor electricity use.
  • Smart submeters measure specific equipment gas and electricity use.
  • Circuit-breaker meters measure electricity use in a specific equipment or area.

What type of metering is right for you?

Your registered electrician or plumber will be able to find the right metering for your needs.

Monitor and analyse performance

There’s no point metering your energy use if you don’t monitor it regularly.

To successfully monitor and analyse performance, you need to:

  • allocate this responsibility to someone in-house, or you can hire a specialist to audit the data for you
  • look for abnormalities in the energy data
  • compare the data to your baseline and business activity. Use this comparison to identify if equipment is running when it doesn’t need to be.
  • regularly monitor the data for unexpected spikes. These spikes can indicate when equipment needs repairing or maintaining.

Energy terms

Before undergoing energy-saving upgrades, measure how much energy a business, building or equipment uses. This can be used to compare against or regularly monitor for abnormal spikes.

Current transfer
A static device that produces a secondary current or voltage output used by an electric meter.

Direct-connected meter, or whole current meter
A meter used without an instrument transformer that is directly connected to the electrical circuit to be monitored.

Interval data
When you download a data from your smart meter, it’s provided in 15 and 30 minute intervals.

Interval meter, or time of use meter
An electronic meter or smart meter records energy data in 15 and 30 minute intervals.

K factor
The ratio of energy registered by the meter and the actual readable output.

kVar (kilovolt amp reactive)
The electrical energy supplied to a site, which doesn’t produce meaningful work, but services induction loads (e.g. magnetic field in a motor).

kW (kilowatt)
The rate at which energy (power) is supplied to do work. Typical unit of measurement used on your electricity bill.

kWh (kilowatt hour)
The energy supplied to do the work. Typical unit of measurement used on your electricity bill.

Meter data agencies, or registered metering provider
Companies that specialise in reading meters and collecting data. The metering charge on your bill will typically be done by these companies.

MJ (megajoules)
A unit of energy supplied to do the work. Typical unit of measurement used on your gas bills.

Pattern-approved meter
A type of meter that is approved and certified by the National Measurement Institute, indicating the meter meets Australian Standards.

Peak demand, or maximum demand
A period where power is expected to be provided at a higher cost. The unit of measurement is kVA (kilovolt-amp) or kW(kilowatt) and is typically used on electricity bills for medium and large customers.

Programmable logic controller (PLC)
A computer used to control machinery and processes, which has a microprocessor and input and output circuits.

Soft meters
Meters that use software to measure equipment performance specifications with operating data from a building management system (BMS) to calculate energy demand and consumption in real time.

Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)
An application that measures a system or process operating data to control and optimise the system.

Metering at equipment level or section level.

Utility meter, or revenue meter
A meter used in conjunction with the supply of electricity from the national electricity market by an electricity retailer.

Identify energy-saving opportunities

Through your analysis of the energy data, you may come across abnormalities. Find ways to reduce or eliminate them.

Consider times you can turn off equipment when not needed, like overnight and weekends.

Target equipment that uses the most energy and look through our energy-saving tips for equipment.

If you don’t have the in-house expertise to identify energy-saving opportunities, hire a registered electrician, plumber or an energy auditor.

What else can you do?

Better understand metering and monitoring

Download the NSW electricity metering and monitoring guide (PDF, 1.6MB)

Get recommendations for an energy upgrade project

Our energy upgrade tool does the hard work for you. It recommends opportunities and funding options, and calculates return on investment for your business.

Use our energy upgrades tool.

Upgrade your system with energy-specific finance

There are a range of finance options that help businesses invest in energy-efficient equipment. They range from a simple bank loan to an agreement between you and your service provider.

Learn about energy finance.