VCU can calculate total pounds of steam billed in a year by adding up monthly usages of the 60 users. For fiscal 2006/2007, the university found pounds of steam billed ran 16% lower than measured steam delivered.
To improve accuracy of the flowmeters, the university started replacing them with new Swirl flowmeters from ABB Instrumentation, recommended for high accuracy by FCX Performance, Inc.
These flowmeters require straight runs of only three pipe diameters upstream and one downstream—ideal for old piping systems with short runs. They also offer built-in temperature compensation, permitting conversion of volumetric flow to mass flow rates. Lastly, the ABB Swirl flowmeters have turndown ratios as high as 30 to 1, maintaining higher accuracy at the lower flow rates prevalent during the summer.
By the end of fiscal 2007/2008, the university had replaced its steam plant meters and 40 of the larger campus user meters. A check of total steam billed now showed that lost steam billings had dropped to 5% of steam delivered. More accurate metering translated into a recovery of $1.25M in billings—to be essentially duplicated in succeeding years.
The ABB Swirl flowmeters also help to pinpoint system leaks and faulty steam traps. They promote energy conservation as departments move to minimize utility costs.
ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 107,000 people.