Installing the wrong meters is costing millions of pounds of wasted energy every year according to one of the sector’s leading experts.
Martin Wardell, Founder of MWA Technology, believes we are seeing a growing trend of industry 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 and this 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.
“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,” explained Martin, who has more than 20 years experience in the industry.
“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 tend to choose the lowest cost option without understanding the full implications around accuracy and reliability of the data.”
The MWA Chief 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.
Martin 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 over 500 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 logistics and warehouse operation and a concerted recruitment drive means the firm can call upon more than 15 experts to deal with customer enquiries at any one time.
Martin went on to add: “I think the expertise of our team is what really separates us from our rivals. We don’t just give the client the meter they think they need, we investigate the end use and what they are looking for it to do and then advise them on all options.
“This means they receive the meter that will offer them the best possible long-term solution. Once they’ve installed it they can forget about it, safe in the knowledge that the data it is providing is 100% accurate.
“We have also developed a new CPD seminar for specifiers and architects that will give them a comprehensive insight into meters and different installation techniques.”
MWA Technology offer gas, water, electric, oil, steam and energy and heat meters from some of the world’s biggest names, including Elster, Itron, Kamstrup, Diehl and Siemens.
Its 20,000 sq ft distribution centre in the West Midlands means the company can offer fast response times, with most orders delivered within two working days.