How Smart Meter Data Changes Building Operations August 13, 2015 | Kelia Cowan

Seems like everything nowadays is becoming smart. Smart watch, smart home, and now smart…meters? That’s right! Even utility meters are becoming “smart” as technologies now allow a two-way communication between the meter readings and utility or third-party platforms, allowing the “Internet of Things” to increase building operations efficiency.

Slow Down: What’s a Smart Meter?
Let’s start at the beginning: “smart meter” is a confusing, often misused term. Smart meters, at the most basic level, are utility meters that record interval data consumption and enable two-way communication. Smart meters can be installed in electric, water, and gas utility lines. To extract the data from a utility meter, typically a pulse output or Zigbee wireless protocol can be used to communicate to third party platforms.
 
While this is “smart” compared to a traditional meter, which has one-way communication and only sends monthly consumption data, the meter’s innovative capabilities stop there. Smart meters do not actually create “smarter” data than a traditional meter; smart meters simply produce the same type of data more frequently.
 
However, smart meters provide important information on utility consumption. They can produce data at various intervals, from
hourly to minute-to-minute meter readings. This data enables informed decisions by end-users to better manage their utility consumption.

 

Utilities Embrace Smart Meter Data
Utilities used to own all meters and meter data. End-users only received a monthly bill with no idea where their consumption was going. Now, as utilities are opening up this information, building managers can take control of their consumption data.
 

Green Button is a Department of Energy-led initiative that allows end-users to download their energy data directly from their utility companies through a secure platform. Green Button smart meters report data one to two days late. Additionally, this data must be manually downloaded. Even though this access to data is a step in the right direction, real-time data is the ideal standard because it provides constant information on the system for optimal monitoring and real-time alerts.

But…Meters Need Energy Management Systems
An energy management system is necessary to create actual improvements. Data without analysis simply provides numbers; a complete energy management system will provide actionable insights to vastly improve energy efficiency. Additionally, you’ll want a platform that can accommodate
the individual needs of each building in your portfolio.

 

Going Beyond Smart Meters
For even greater insight to your utility consumption, consider web-enabled meters with an energy management system can provide real-time information. Armed with new knowledge, end-users in buildings can conduct thorough analyses of their consumption and networks. Facility management teams can witness operational changes immediately, set up real-time alerts, and gives you access to your consumption data anywhere.
 
This is huge. If used optimally, this meter data can provide information that will allow:
 
  • Easier interpretation of the energy curve with detailed interval data.
  • Swift correction of negative or harmful trends.
  • More time to respond to issues.
  • Optimized operating schedules with new data.
  • Increased tenant satisfaction and engagement with lower energy costs.
 

As the Internet of Things slowly infiltrates the commercial real estate industry, data-driven processes will take over the building management market–for the better. Image if every building had smart meters with energy management systems: every building would have accurate, actionable data to increase performance. Every building manager would know how the building was consuming energy, water, and gas in real time. Every energy management system could then provide analysis for the building managers to improve their energy performance.

That’s pretty powerful.

I Want To Be A Metering Expert

 

Information for this blog provided by Aquicore’s Sam Dib, VP of Operations and Engineering, Brandon Chase, Customer Success Manager, and Natacha Dumondel, Project Engineer.

Green Buildings, Internet of Things, Smart Meters, Web-Enabled Meters

About The Author

As the Digital Marketing Specialist at Aquicore, Kelia Cowan manages the company’s content and events, including the company blog, social media channels, resources, email marketing campaigns, webinars, and conferences. Simultaneously, she fields questions on how to “properly” pronounce her name.

Previously, Kelia was the Marketing and Communications Fellow at Cleantech Open Northeast, where she focused on digital content and event coordination. As an undergraduate student, she worked in various communication roles at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, and Energy Excelerator. Kelia left the paradise of Honolulu, Hawai’i, to attain a B.S. in Journalism and a B.A. in Environmental Analysis & Policy from Boston University.