Lisbon, Portugal --- (METERING.COM) --- July 23, 2008 - Many European local authorities are collecting data on building water, electricity and gas consumption and most is collected by conventional manual data collection systems – paper bills and manual meter readings – with only a few so far collecting data automatically through electronic bills and even less with automatic metering systems.

In a survey of 76 municipalities in 19 European countries, 71 collected electricity consumption data, 65 building water consumption data and 62 gas consumption data. In addition data on oil is collected in more than half and heat use in collected in one third of the municipalities.

The survey was conducted under a PhD program by Vasco Ferreira and Paul Fleming of the Research Group on Energy and Sustainable Development at the Technical University of Lisbon in conjunction with the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development of De Montfort University in the UK.

More than a third of the water and energy data from municipal buildings is collected in monthly periods, while 41% is collected in periods larger than the month (including intermittently collected data). Only about 13% of the data is collected in sub-daily periods, i.e. in half-hourly (or less) intervals.

Municipal building water and energy is usually collected by one of the local authority departments or energy agency, the property department in most cases. The most important application of the data is monitoring consumption, identifying high levels of consumption and wastage. Measurement and verification of water and energy savings measures is also another important data application. Apparently water and energy data is also used to communicate and to promote behavior change of building occupants. Benchmarking with similar building types is also an important application of water and energy data.

About a third of the municipalities each use manual meter readings and utility paper bills for energy and water data and only about 15% are using automatic metering systems so far. However, there is a clear demand for more automated, accurate, flexible, easy-to-use water and energy consumption metering and monitoring for municipal buildings. The main applications sought are building energy performance assessment using indicators, labelling, footprinting, and benchmarking. Another application of metered data is continuous monitoring, which includes visualization of data for rapid identification of trends, and analytical capabilities, to be used for example in detecting unusual consumption profiles and budget forecasting. Apparently, metering data is also quite important for effective reporting and communication activities.