I just learnt that that my full co-authored (with co-author Fred Popowich, TaeJin Moon, and Bob Gill) paper “Inspiring Energy Conservation Through Open Source Power Monitoring and In-Home Display” was accepted at the IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting. It will be held in Vancouver so I will not need to travel! Here is the paper abstract:
Many homeowners and occupants are interested in energy conservation for economical and/or ecological reasons. A number of commercial energy conservation solutions exist on the market today. However, these products contain closed systems and do not provide easy access to much of the raw data needed for more sophisticated analysis. An open source solution would be a great benefit for homeowners and occupants, allowing access to (and custom analysis of) raw power readings. We present a complete open source solution that monitors power, stores raw power readings, and makes provision for an in-home display, that informs stakeholders about energy consumption through a real-time ambient feedback effectively becoming an eco-feedback device.
Keywords: Power Monitoring, In-Home Display, Residential, Open Source, Arduino, RS-485, Modbus, Electric Imp, Energy Conservation
Apparently there were over 1,600 submission and they will be accepting only between 60-80 papers. Those are some odds!
- The Cognitive Power Meter: Looking Beyond the Smart Meter (eco-sustain.org)
Last week I learnt that that my full co-authored (with co-author Fred Popowich and Bob Gill) paper “The Cognitive Power Meter: Looking Beyond the Smart Meter” was accepted at IEEE‘s 2013 Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering (CCECE’13). So I will be travelling to Regina, Saskatchewan in the Canada. Here is the paper abstract:
The smart meter is often heralded as the key component supporting energy displays that can notify home occupants of their energy usage. But, a smart meter is only a digital power meter with enhanced communications capabilities — it is not actually smart. We need to look beyond the smart meter and define what intelligence is needed to actually make a meter smart. One area with promise is load disaggregation. Load disaggregation can be used to determine what loads contributing to the consumption reading at the smart meter. A smart meter incorporating load disaggregation intelligence can be seen as going beyond the traditional smart meter — what we call a cognitive power meter (c-meter). However, using load disaggregation, in its current form, is not feasible. We critically review the requirements for a c-meter and provide insights as to how load disaggregation research needs to change to make the c-meters a reality.
Keywords: Power Meter, Smart Meter, Load Disaggregation, Cognitive Analysis, Demand Response, Energy Conservation
I will post a link to where you can download the paper soon…
- NDP pledges to seek alternatives for people who don’t want smart meter (timescolonist.com)
- Orlando Utilities Commission to install 223,000 smart meters (utilitiesretail.energy-business-review.com)
- Port Alberni marijuana activist says Smart Meters will affect licensed and illegal growers (timescolonist.com)
Version 2.0 of the Arduino Power Meter Reader (APMR) project is now released. APMR s an open source hardware and software project. APMR reads the power (W) and energy (Wh) readings of RS485/Modbus communicating power meters at a constant interval. Readings are recorded on an SD card and/or sent over the Internet using a HTTP RESTful web service. Version 2.0 sees a number of new features and enhancements which include:
- Added feature to log readings to SD card
- Added feature to save setting/config to EEPROM using browser
- Modified JSON format and accompany web service
- Perform load testing on hardware
- Sense when network down, when up send all unsent readings
Special thanks to TJ Moon who worked on this project all summer long!
If you have a Proliphix thermostat like me (I have a IMT550w thermostat) and want a way to collect data and generate reports on the data then you should visit InThrMa. The have an web-based product that does this. They have a iPhone app as well as energy-saving features like SmartStart and Heat Pump Optimization (see Beta Labs). They also offer a free (no credit card required) 2 week trial.
I have been using them for a couple of months now.
- Proliphix IMT550w thermostat installed (eco-sustain.org)
Earlier this month I learnt that I (and co-author Fred Popowich) will have my first journal paper published in the GSTF Journal on Computing in the April/2012 edition (vol 2, no 1). Here is the paper abstract:
Smart homes of the future will have a number of different types of sensors. What types of sensors and how they will be used depends on the behaviour needed from the smart home. Using the sensors to automatically determine if a home is occupied can lead to a wide range of benefits. For example, it could trigger a change in the thermostat setting to save money, or even a change in security monitoring systems. Our prototype Home Occupancy Agent (HOA), which we present in this paper, uses a rule based system that monitors power consumption from meters and ambient light sensor readings in order to determine occupancy. The agent is also able to determine when the occupants are asleep, and thus provide the potential for further energy saving opportunities.
Keep your eyes peeled as there are a number of other submissions that I am either waiting on review or in the midst of writing. Write on…
- The Affect of Lifestyle Factors on Eco-Visualization Design (eco-sustain.org)
- Arduino RFID shield on the Cloud (electronics-lab.com)
- Chrono-tomic shield helps your Arduino keep perfect time (hackaday.com)
- Review: Environmental Monitoring With Arduino (wired.com)
- Adafruit data logger, in the freezer (adafruit.com)
- Tracking satellites with an Arduino (hackaday.com)
- Building an Arduino LCD Clock with Adafruit gear (adafruit.com)
I have been busy getting back in to course work for this fall; but I though it would be good to set up a poll to see what people think about what will drive energy conservation. Please contribute by taking my poll.
- Bucks: Friday Reading: Embracing Energy Conservation (bucks.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Going Green: Energy Conservation During Record-Breaking Heat (blogsouthwest.com)
- eeS Group explores Energy Efficiency vs. Energy Conservation (ees2001.wordpress.com)
Today I finally installed my Proliphix IMT550w Network Thermostat. As you may have read in my earlier post, it was hard to find the right thermostat for my American Standard HVAC system, and it took me over 2 week to do an exhaustive search to find the IMT550. To review, I have a dual fuel system with a 2-stage heat pump and a 2-stage, variable speed gas furnace.
I spent the last couple of weeks figuring out how my HVAC system is wired. This took some time because there where a different amount of terminals with different labels (e.g. my system labels W2 as X2, and not needed). The colouring of the wires was also different. I cautiously documented the current wiring scheme and the new wiring scheme with my new IMT550w installed. I then talked to Proliphix Support and they worked with me to come up with the right wiring scheme. Proliphix has one of the best support departments. Mark, from Proliphix Support, was knowledgeable and responded quickly to all my emails–what more could I ask for. For those of you who are interested in seeing the before and after diagram of my HVAC wiring take a look at my HVAC Wiring Scheme document.
What I like about the IMT550w is:
- I can read and change setting from my browser, making it easier to set up schedules;
- I can install additional indoor temperature sensors, providing more comfort and energy efficiency;
- the temperature sensors that go with the thermostat (need to order separately) are more accurate than the ACONT802;
- the thermostat firmware can be updated with new functionality.
- Installing mControl v3 (eco-sustain.org)
Today David Lindberg a fellow graduate student and colleague ask, “I need a better picture of the data you’re receiving from the houses. Can you send me your database schema“? David will be looking at modelling tools and developing a model for the home. I though it might be a good idea to take some time and post what I have experienced and some of my opinions.
- a relay, like on/off, 1/0, yes/no, open/closed, or high/low;
- or, a setpoint, like a scale or discrete value (e.g. the temperature, the light level).
With sensors you can read these values and with actuators you can set these values. When it comes to reading sensors, there are 2 ways that sensors can be read, and this depends on the function of the sensor:
- continuous and periodic set interval, meters and environmental sensors (temperature, light) are typical examples of this;
- or, event triggered, PIR motion and door/window contacts are typical examples.
An example of how you can read sensors and set actuators would be to trigger a furnace to heat a room. You might place a temperature sensor in a room that is connected to micro-controller or MCU (e.g. an Arduino). The MCU would continuous read a discrete value from the temperature sensor, say once every second. The MCU could also be connected to the furnace (the actuator), say via a relay interface. We then program into the MCU the simple command, “when the temperature is under 21°C set the furnace relay to on, and when the temperature is over 21.5°C set the furnace relay to off”. Note: setting the furnace relay to on would turn the furnace on, and 21°C would be considered a setpoint.
Now if you wanted to store sensor data in a database the most basic table you could create that would store any kind of reading would be:
- the sensor name or ID, this is a unique value and a way to identify one sensor from another;
- the date and time of the reading, it is best to store this in UTC or GMT to avoid daylight savings time change issues;
- the periodic value, the amount since the last periodic reading;
- the instantaneous value, what the sensor’s reading is now.
So what is this periodic value, instantaneous value thing? When and how do I use them? Good questions, I am glad you asked! If we look at power meters, the periodic value would be the amount of Wh (watt-hours) used since the last reading and the instantaneous value would be in W (watts) for the current power level. With temperature sensors there would be no periodic value and the instantaneous value would be the current temperature (in °C, °F, or °K).
I may have more to add later…