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Case Study: University of Virginia

Cross Helps UVA Ensure Efficiency in Medium Temperature Hot Water Metering

The University of Virginia, located in Charlottesville, was founded in 1819. The school serves 17,000 undergraduates and 8,700 graduate students on a 1682-acre campus that consists of nine undergraduate and three professional schools. As one might imagine, the UVA campus, known locally as Grounds, uses an incredible amount of water, fossil fuels and power. Therefore, it’s critical the school’s utilities run as efficiently as possible. A loss of even 1% can lead to substantial costs, making precise monitoring key. For this reason, UVA implemented a robust metering program utilizing many Flexim non-invasive ultrasonic flow meters. The Facilities Management team monitors the flow of water around campus with hundreds of flow meters to quickly identify if there is a leak or other issue. Recently, the team noticed a discrepancy in medium-temperature water metering in a couple of areas so they called in the flow experts at Cross Process Solutions to help.

According to Scott Martin, Systems Integration & Development Manager at UVA, his team worked with Cross to develop a plan “to visit the meters in the primary area and do a few different checks ranging from a simple visual check to ensure proper installation (wiring, pipe diameters, insulation, etc.) to more detailed configuration verifications. The latter involved pulling the configuration files from the meters using the specific Flexim diagnostic software.” Early on in the process, the UVA and Cross teams discovered some incorrect settings as well as physical issues, such as transducer placement. The latter cases were related to piping configuration, proximity to elbows, upstream and downstream pipe diameters, etc. Because the inspection went relatively quickly the project was expanded to include another area that showed very similar systemic issues.

Case Study: University of Virginia 1
FLEXIM Ultrasonic Flow Meter

Following the inspection, Cross provided UVA with a detailed report outlining the findings and suggested remedial actions. While they weren’t able to completely eliminate the discrepancies the team was able to identify the problem areas for further measurement and monitoring. As Martin said, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”. UVA is fortunate to have a robust metering program and was only able to find the reconciliation issues because of its extensive metering. Martin commented, “It’s a good problem to have in some respects and we are happy to leverage large amounts of trended data from our meters to help us understand where we may have issues. 

I think it’s important whenever we work with our peers that we stress the importance of having a strong metering program. With our own meters and data, not only are we able to identify that there’s a problem, but we’re able to quantify it. We can make good decisions about where to spend money based on the information we collect.”
In the end, Martin said, “the overall case study process was a healthy one for us. We generally consider ourselves to have an outstanding metering program here at UVA. That said, outside perspective and a thorough review are helpful from time to time to ensure meter configurations remain correct and that physical building conditions or piping work have resulted in the appropriate metering revisions. I would certainly recommend any institution go through a similar process periodically, even if they are unaware of any substantive issues.”


About the University of Virginia

Founded in Charlottesville, VA in 1819, UVA is a historic public institution of higher education that aims to educate and prepare citizen leaders to contribute to a flourishing democracy. The university boasts nationally ranked schools and programs, diverse and distinguished faculty, a major academic medical center, and proud history as a renowned research university. The University is enriched by active student self-governance, sustained commitment service, and a robust NCAA Division I Athletics program.

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Did you know… Cross Company is an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan). Our ESOP started in 1979 and as of 2006, we are 100% employee-owned! Learn more about our ESOP and how that benefits both team members and our customers.
Did you know... the precision measurement group at Cross was founded in 1939 by our current CEO's grandfather, Jim King. That's a whole lot of calibration!
Did you know... A fingerprint weighs about 50 micrograms. We know, we weighed it! The residue left from a finger can actually make a difference in weight results which is why we wear gloves when we calibrate weights. For reference, a sheet of paper is about 4.5 grams, that’s 4.5 million micrograms.
Did you know… Cross Company has grown significantly since our start in 1954. Over the years we've acquired 26 companies! Today, our five groups have expertise in everything from industrial automation to precision measurement, and industry knowledge going all the way back to 1939.