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Energy Resource Library - Categories

View Tools By Categories:
This page is intended for new users of the ERL who may not know where to start. The ERL is separated into 12 parent categories as well as a couple dozen sub-categories. Below you will find the 12 parent categories with images of the most checked out tool from each category, but also,a description of what projects or objectives the tools in that category will help you investigate. Click on the tool image or a category title to be view all tools associated with that category. A complete listing of tools is available for viewing in our online library. See attachments on individual tool pages for data sheets and instructions, however, if you require a tutorial/how-to-use a specific tool please contact IDL Staff and we will work with you on setting up a date and time.


Beyond standard air temperature, surface temperatures of walls, ceilings, floors, and objects within a space can significantly affect the comfort level within a space. These surfaces can also be responsible for considerable heat transfer with nearby air and other objects. In this category, you will find tools for quickly determining the surface temperature of nearby objects and surfaces, as well as meters for long-term reading and logging of nearby surface temperatures.

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Data Logging

Collecting data over an extended period of time is essential for tracking current performance of a building, space, or system to identify trends or anomalies. Data logging minimizes the need for operator involvement or interference. Some loggers can take readings for more than a year while others can even transmit logged data wirelessly, removing the need for regular physical data retrieval. IDL has various casings to allow logging in outdoor, wet, and extreme conditions. Data loggers in the library can track air and surface temperatures, humidity, light levels, air velocity and pressure, electrical current and signal, and even times of motor operation.

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Flow Meter

Flow meters measure the flow rate of liquids or suspended solids traveling through a pipe by attaching to the outside of the pipe. Often used for water or sewage pipes, flow data allows the user to see the loads and demands on the system, allowing for greater system efficiency opportunities and alerting them to operational and control issues. This category contains portable flow meters for liquids and suspended solids.

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Sound Reading

High sound levels can cause discomfort and negative health effects, particularly over extended periods of time. Sound performance can also impact the performance and effectiveness of a space due to high or low resonance times and echo. The tools found here will monitor and log sound levels from a microphone to determine sound intensity over time.

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Energy measurement tools help determine energy uses and trends within a building. Analyzing these energy systems and behaviors assist in designing more efficient energy and power systems, benchmarking the performance of existing systems, and detecting any faults and anomalies within current systems. Proper energy management will help reduce a building’s Energy Usage Index (EUI), and reduce utility bills. Tools in this category log and pinpoint electrical consumption over time, track and analyze power quality, determine areas of high power consumption, and interpret data into typical wattage use and financial cost.

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A building should only let in outdoor air at design points where it is intended. The ventilation should be efficiently distributed to areas where it is required. Tools in this category will help diagnose problems with the building envelope and air distribution within the space. Measurements possible with these tools include tracking air pressure, air quality, leakage, and air flow.

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Thermal Cameras

The technology category includes much of the high-tech equipment that can be used for a variety of analysis purposes. Imaging technologies include high resolution cameras capable of taking high-dynamic-range photos and videos for site analysis, as well as illuminance and glare analysis. Thermal cameras and phone accessories allow for thermal imaging to detect infiltration and thermal transfer. Lenses, tripods, and other accessories allow for flexibility in image gathering and manipulation over time. Laptop and tablet computers allow for on-site data retrieval and viewing from loggers and cameras without the need to remove them from the site.

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A building’s lighting performance includes both electrical and solar light sources within a space and affects everything from comfort and safety, to energy costs and user productivity. Lighting is typically expected to be within a certain range of lumens (intensity) and quality for a given space and task. Ideal lighting design typically involves balancing light sources, costs, quality, and heat gains while avoiding issues of glare and over- or under-lit areas. Tools in this category include sensors and meters for short and long-term measurement of area and surface luminance, illuminance, reflectivity, and radiative solar properties. This data can be used along-side imaging tools to determine glare issues and energy logging tools to analyze and compare lighting electrical performance within a single space or building.

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Digital Stroboscopes

Digital stroboscopes, or strobes are used to measure moving parts to provide consistent and exact data on speed, including stop-motion diagnostic inspection. Strobes are employed to make a cyclically moving object seem to be ‘slow-moving’ or even stationary. This is particularly useful for measuring the rotating speeds of motor shafts without contact or gauging the performance of fans, allowing the user to view the fan’s blades while in use.

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Codes, standards, and references for best practices are essential for any designer. In this category, you will find literature that provides a better understanding of building systems and their performance, as well as the standards and codes that govern those energy performance criteria such as ASHRAE handbooks and standards. There are also books that provide procedures and applications for specific energy saving systems as well as tips on how to extend savings even further in specific high-energy use situations.

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Contact Tachometers are used to measure the speed of a rotating object in Revolutions Per Minute (RPM). The handheld tachometer couples to the shaft of the rotating component through friction. The tachometer shaft will rotate at the same speed as the component being measured. To measure linear speed such as conveyor belt speed use a contact tachometer with wheel attachment. Place the wheel against the conveyor belt and the wheel will rotate at the same rate. The tachometer will calculate the linear speed on the display based on the rotational rate and fixed diameter of the wheel.

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Current Transformer

Typically measured in kW and kWh. Current transformers can be easily and safely installed over existing electrical power lines without disconnecting the lines or interrupting service. They are used for a variety of application including building automation, performance verification, energy management and new technology assessment.

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