So in my last post I mentioned Elements of Consumption (EoC). EoC is an ambient display (or eco-feedback device) that visualizes consumption as abstract art. I have published a paper about it (check out the publications page). Also, I just finished uploading 2 videos to YouTube that shows what Elements of Consumption (EoC) looks like. I have also added an initial project page. I am in the process of building an ambient display prototype. Once the prototype is finished I will have some more information and pictures on what it looks like.
At the Smart Graphics 2011 (July 18 to 20) conference I attended in Bremen, Germany I got positive feedback at the art exhibition where EoC was on demo. Based on that feedback I would like to create a non-photorealistic rendering canvas that would use an uploaded photo. One of the biggest highlights of the conference was meeting Frieder Nake. I had a chance to talk to Frieder at the art exhibition about EoC and my research–I appreciated his interest in my research and his words of encouragement.
Soon I will be running a user study to determine if EoC is effective at conveying information…
So here is a summary of the meters I have installed at my house.
Around the middle of 2009 I had 2 electrical meters installed at my home. Both where PowerLogic ION6200 meters. These meters are class 0.5 revenue meters so that means they are not cheap. One meter measures consumption of the main buswork coming into the house at 200A. The second meter measured consumption from the heat pump (40A). These meters communicate using the MODBUS protocol using a RS485 serial connection.
At the beginning of this year I installed 2 water meters and 2 natural gas meters. The meter installed on the water main coming into the house is a DLJ Contact Head meter from watermeters.com. I installed a second meter to measure hot water consumption, an Elster S130. One thing to note, both meters measure in US gallons consumed. This is too large of a measurement for my house (~2400 sq ft). I should have bought meters that measure in letres (1 US gallon = 3.785 litres).
For natural gas I have one meter measuring the main gas line coming into the house (Elster AC-250, measured in cubic-decimeters). I have the other meter measuring gas consumed by the forced air furnace (Elster BK-G4, measured in cubic-feet). Having these 2 meters measure in different units presents QA (quality assurance) challenge. I have to convert the units of measure from one of the meters so that both meters have the same units and the conversion function has to be correct, too.
The water and natural gas meters are pulse meters, meaning that an electronic pulse is send down a wire for every gallon that is consumed. This meant that I need to buy a data logger that can count and measure consumption rates. After much searching I decided to go with the Obvius AcquiLite to do this. I also use the AcquiLite to convert the units of measure from imperial to metric. Stay tuned, I will post more details (and pictures) on how I am collecting data from these meters…
I have created page that graphs out this consumption data on my research website called My Smart Home: Consumption Report. Check it out.