Smart Meter for an intelligent energy management

May 4, 2017

Buildings are responsible for 40% of global energy use and contribute towards 30% of the total CO2 emissions. The drive to reduce energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions from buildings have acted as a catalyst in the increasing installation of meters and sensors for monitoring energy use and indoor environmental conditions in buildings.  Moreover, buildings in the near future should be able to produce the amount of energy they consume, i.e., become zero or nearly Zero Energy Buildings (ZEBs),

Smart metering

Smart metering is a prerequisite and starting point for effective implementation of smart grids and zero energy buildings’ perspective. In Finland, the usage of smart metering has encouraged consumers to increase energy efficiency by 7%. In order for electricity providers to deliver intelligent services for customers, bidirectional metering interfaces should be used to obtain customers’ energy demand information.

Moreover through the advances of smart metering, sensors based approaches can be exploited to provide energy load forecasting . Data collected from smart meters, building management systems and weather stations can be used by advanced artificial intelligent techniques and machine learning algorithms to infer the complex relationships between the energy consumption and various variables such as temperature, solar radiation, time of day and occupancy.

Potential benefits of smart meters.

Estimates of the improvements in energy efficiency that smart meters might lead to 2-5%. In addition, there are less tangible benefits. For example, there has often been a tension between energy suppliers and consumers, resulting from a lack of understanding in terms of what exactly the consumer is paying for. From installation to operation, smart metering has the potential to change the relationship between energy suppliers and customers, enabling much easier and more frequent two-way interaction between the two parties.

By being given access to accurate, up-to-date information on their energy use, consumers will have a larger degree of understanding and control in monitoring and reducing their energy consumption and costs. Suppliers will also benefit from the accurate information a smart meter provides, allowing them to improve the standard of service they offer through personalised communication and a better understanding of their customers’ energy use.

Using smart meter data to improve energy management

Energy management is often a low priority In most businesses energy is managed inconsistently with a focus on reporting and budgeting, rather than efficiency. This leads to a split between where data resides and the implementation of energy efficiency activities. This is exacerbated by the regulatory approach to energy efficiency as a series of uncoordinated policies with little evidence that they have achieved a significant change.

Organisations need to have an understanding of what role energy plays within their business, the level of control they can exert, and how to use the data generated. Energy users do not expect smart meters to raise the profile of energy management at the Board level.

At a financial level, energy efficiency is not seen as an investment opportunity with a strong and low risk return supported by access to low interest funding.

Building owners are still largely concerned with cost and building status, and often prioritise these over issues such as reducing carbon emissions. Aligning the disparate existing policy mechanisms and support together with enhanced tax breaks for energy efficient organisations will promote the voluntary take up of smart meters in advance of the statutory rollout.

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