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IPMVP stands for the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol. Initially developed and spearheaded by the United States Department for Energy, this protocol has garnered fame over the years to become today’s leading protocol for the measurement and implementation of energy savings measures. The protocol is currently being maintained, updated and published by EVO (Efficiency Valuation Organization), non-profit Organization.
In its conception, creation, implementation and sustenance, the IPMVP has as main prerogative, the definition of terms and development of best standards and practices for the measurement of energy savings. This prerogative is carried out with the aim of increasing and improving investments in renewable energy, energy savings, water and demand savings.
The question thus becomes, “how does IPMVP measure energy savings”? Or better still, “what makes IPMVP the preferred measurement and valuation (M&V) standard? To answer these questions, one must first have an understanding of what energy savings are, as well as the events that led to the development of the IPMVP.
Up on till 1995 when the US Department for Energy embarked on the IPMVP project, there were as many M&V techniques as there were Energy Savings Companies (ESCo) in the commercial building business landscape. Not only did energy savings measurement and valuation techniques differ in terms of units of measure, the concept of energy savings in commercial buildings was viewed from a largely incorrect angle. Energy savings was calculated using the formula:
Energy Savings = Baseline Period Energy Consumption – Reporting Period Energy Consumption
The baseline period refers to the period against which future comparisons are to be made in determining the effectiveness of the energy conservation measure being implemented.
The current period is the period during which the energy conservation measures are implemented.
The formula above was largely flawed for the following reason:
Difference in periodic/seasonal energy needs: Using the formula above, energy savings in commercial buildings was being calculated on a linear basis with zero regards for the fluctuation in energy needs largely influenced by seasonal changes. For example, it is normal for more heating to be used during winter than during any other season, with the same reasoning holding true for ventilation and summer. It will therefore wrong to calculate the impact of an energy conservation measure (ECM) implemented on a commercial building’s heating system, by subtracting Summer readings from that of Winter. This however was how energy savings was largely calculated prior to the IPMVP. By so doing, good M&V, as well as excellent energy savings practices were being discarded, simply because of seasonal changes, while poor and ineffective practices strived on bases of wrong comparisons.
Where IPMVP makes the difference:
Unlike pre-1995 techniques in outlining and measuring energy savings, IPMVP began by redefining the concept of energy savings. Firstly, it stated that energy savings in commercial buildings that represents the absence or non-consumption of energy/water could not be directly measured. This conclusion was reached on the simple fact that the energy/water not used is not readily available to be measured. Plus, getting an accurate measurement will imply knowing exactly what every occupant in the commercial building would have consumed in the period during which the ECM was implemented, and then comparing that to the actual consumption. That in its self will be impossible as human beings are inherently unpredictable, coupled with how difficult it will be to use it in the same period as both the baseline and reporting period. Taking these aspects in to consideration, The IPMVP went ahead to modify the pre-IPMVP formula for energy savings, to come up with what is today’s standard IPMVP energy savings measurement formula:
Unlike the previous energy savings formula, the IPMVP now gave commercial building owners the opportunity of having more accurate values by incorporating adjustments in to the formula. Adjustments in the formula refer to those other external factors that must be taken in to consideration to provide an equality base for the linear comparison of readings between two separate periods. A classic example is weather. Other factors include occupancy, equipment and system operating parameters. Assuming that the base period of an ECM implemented by an ESCO is autumn, with the reporting period being in spring, adjustments will include: offsetting the impact of weather values for one period to match the other, adjustments of any impacts resulting from changes in the commercial building structure which could have a possible bearing on energy savings.
5 Things You Need to Know about IPMVP
- Most Widely used Measurement and Valuation Protocol
The International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP) is a pioneer in the field of harmonizing M&V in to an applicable standard that can be adopted and applied worldwide. It not only provides specifics as to the best practices to be implemented in particular commercial building scenarios, but the IPMVP also outlines guidelines that can be implemented in varying scenarios worldwide. With translation of the protocol to over ten languages, and with many more countries recognizing it, the IPMVP is currently the world’s leader as far as protocols for measurement and valuation of energy savings and best practices go.
- IPMVP Reduces Cost of M&V
In all its three volumes, the IPMVP covers a lot of grounds as far as initial M&V with regards to ECM projects are concerned. Usually, before carrying out an ECM project, a lot of time, energy and money are spent in covering the bases of manner of implementation. All of these costs could be totally alienated by prescribing the IPMVP protocol as the implementation standard. Given its popularity, any commercial building construction firm that is worth its salt should be able to follow and implement the protocols within the IPMVP in developing and implementing a great M&V, and also ensuring maximum energy savings.
- IPMVP Increases Commercial Building’s Credibility
Commercial buildings are predominantly for-profit business entities. And like businesses of this class, they have as objectives the minimization of costs and maximization of profits. These objectives are crucial to the sustainability of commercial properties, as they increase investment. However, for more investments to come in, investors must be convinced of the effectiveness of the process they are about putting their money into. Through the credibility of the IPMVP and its international acceptance, investors are more likely to invest in a commercial building following best practice in terms of energy (cash) savings, than in one that doesn’t. Implementation of the IPMVP also goes to improve the credibility of the energy savings report released by a commercial building.
- Specific and Whole Building Implementation
The IPMVP is very flexible, allowing for implementation at all stages in the life cycle of a commercial building. Contrary to other energy savings implementation and measurement protocols, the protocols within the IPMVP can be incorporated in to a commercial building at any time. The incorporation of IPMVP protocols could be partial or complete. Partial in that its implementation could be done to specific energy saving areas such Heating or Ventilating, while all other energy sectors could continue running unhindered by the changes. This is important in that it gives commercial building managers the option to integrate the protocols at their own pace without the burden of a onetime complete building implementation.
- IPMVP is Compatible with Building Technological Evolution
The protocols contained within the IPMVP are not just one time, best-fit protocols. They are continuously modified, updated and published as per the evolutions in the commercial building industry. Current IPMVP energy savings, measurement, valuation and implementation protocols take in to consideration the latest building trends and gadgets in the building industry’s market. The protocols are now leveraging advanced calibration techniques as well as the Internet of Things (IoT).
In conclusion IPMVP is an international protocol to that examines and identifies the various motivations for measurement and verifications (M&V) in building projects. They are used for 1.energy savings 2.operations and maintenance troubleshooting 3.encourage better project engineering and 4.help organizations to promote and achieve resource efficiency and environmental objectives. As you adopt newer protocols for energy and environmental performance it is important to adopt IPMVP standards to keep abreast of the highest standards as well as increase property value.