As one of the fastest growing, full-service electrical wholesalers in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, Dulles Electric Supply, Sterling, Va., outgrew its original facility and in early 2007 began designing a new building next-door that would essentially double its existing space. In operation since fall 2009, the new 50,000 square-foot green facility includes a 5,000 square-foot electrical supply counter, a state-of-the-art 25,000 square-foot paperless warehouse, and a 12,000 square-foot lighting design center that doubled the size of the company's old showroom.

Supplementing the building's green features are a few energy-saving systems, including motion sensing and a time-clock management control panel to conserve lights and wattage. The company also relies on a submetering system manufactured by E-Mon Corp., Langhorne, Pa., to monitor its electrical usage — and to demonstrate the bottom-line value of facility energy profiling by using its own state-of-the-art green building as a case study. The submeters track the facility's demand (kW), consumption (kWh), power factor (PF), amps and volts in order to get a better handle on controlling peak demand and shedding load, particularly in the company's large commercial and industrial lighting showroom. Through Web-Mon, the data is tied into Dulles' internal network for monitoring from any local desktop.

The submetering system was installed by Loudoun Electric Co., Sterling, Va., one of Dulles Electric Supply's long-time customers. As part of its energy management service offering, Loudoun provides submetering equipment sales and installation, as well as start-up and commissioning, said Lee Piazza, Loudoun's president. Put in over a period of three days, the submetering system (see photo) consists of 14 Class 3000 E-Mon D-Mons of various 277/480V configurations for monitoring 100A, 200A and 800A lighting, HVAC and other circuits throughout the facility.

Loudoun Electric's Piazza said Dana Hildebrand, foreman, and Goff Ingram, project manager and director of construction, worked closely with the Dulles team to ensure all of their project milestones were met on time and that the unusually dense power requirements and diversity of light fixtures and advanced systems of a lighting showroom all came together without a hitch.

An unintended benefit surfaced early on. The submeters identified a major spike that occurred when all of the building and showroom lighting came on at the same time each morning, according to John Milotte, Dulles Electric Supply's general manager. To correct the condition, the contractor adjusted the facility's timers to stagger the start times of the lighting and rooftop HVAC units. Milotte said if the submeters hadn't identified this spike, it would have driven up the electrical system's demand factor, resulting in a significant demand factor penalty that may have reached at least 15 percent. With a $40,000 annual electric bill, a demand penalty of this size would have had a notable impact on the company's bottom line.

The Dulles sales force actively promotes the hardware that its own building metering system employs. “We're using the Web-Mon meter dashboard as an effective sales tool to sell submetering products,” said Milotte. “To promote the business, we use our own facility parameters to demonstrate the capabilities of Internet-based energy monitoring. It's an effective way to prove the value of sub-metering by showing how it all plays together in a real-world scenario.” — Jack Group, E-Mon

As Eastern regional manager for E-Mon, Group's 24 years of experience in manufacturing, sales and service give him insight into the varied logistical and operational requirements of the industrial and commercial sales channel. He may be contacted at 800-334-3666 or jgroup@emon.com.