How to Choose: Traditional Meters, Web-Enabled Meters, or Wireless Meters December 5, 2014 | Samantha Dubrow

Whether your goal is to extract energy data from an existing building or to design the metering architecture for a new building, it is important to be familiar with available technologies.

There are several types of meters, and this article provides a quick overview of the differences between traditional, web-enabled, and wireless meters.

Types of Meters:

 

First, There Were Traditional Meters

The metering solution that exists in 80% of commercial buildings today involves traditional technology that locks data in the basement. These meters may display energy consumption on an LED screen, but the data is not transferred back to building managers or engineers. If you want to see your energy consumption, you either need to walk to the basement and read the meter manually or you need to hire a meter reading company to retrieve the data.

 

Now, There are Web-Enabled Meters

When web-enabled meters came along, they solved the problem of inaccessible data. By allowing data to be sent to the cloud, it is taken out of the basement and becomes usable for relevant stakeholders.
Unfortunately, web-enabled meters can be expensive, specifically because there needs to be a physical wire connecting the meter in the electric room to the gateway in the IT server room.

 

Finally, We Have Wireless Meters

A wireless meter is a type of web-enabled meter, which does not need be connected with a cable. Since there is no need to pull wires from the electric room to the IT server room, wireless meters help retrieve data without the excessive costs.

Meters_Chart

 

Wireless Meters Are Changing The Industry

 

Decreased Cost
Traditional meters are moderately expensive, but necessary for utility companies to collect energy data for billing. Web-enabled meters are more expensive, but necessary for making data accessible. Wireless meters are the least expensive, and the most feasible for collection of actionable data.

 

Decreased Installation Time
Installing traditional meters does not take much time at all. In an existing building, there are likely meters in place, and it is easy to design new buildings with traditional meters. The problem with taking the easy route to install traditional meters is that they are not useful when you cannot access their data.
Web-enabled meters do take longer to install, because of the need to pull wires, but wireless meters solve this problem and still provide access to the data that is collected.

 

Increased Usability
The functionality of these meters is simple. If the only reason you have a meter is to send information to the utility company, traditional meters get the job done. If you want data you can actually use, web-enabled or wireless meters will be necessary.
Wireless meters will definitely give you the best value for your investment. Wireless meters are like smartphones for buildings. They enable buildings to remotely communicate information to key decision makers for a price that should fit in your budget.

 

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About The Author

When Samantha isn’t writing for the blog or managing our HR like a champ, she studies Organizational Psychology at George Washington University.