eMeter

eMeter is a platform to develop, test, and put powerful energy feedback concepts into practice. Through combining a smart meter with a mobile phone application, the consumption transparency is increased, a basis for conscious and economic energy usage is laid, and important questions regarding the electricity consumption are answered.

Working group

Markus Weiss, Claire-Michelle Loock, Thorsten Staake

Abstract

With smart electricity meters being widely deployed, data on residential energy usage is increasingly becoming available. To make sensible use of these data, this project is conducted with different industry partners such as Landis + Gyr and EWZ and aims at the following three main aspects. First, we investigate and evaluate what functionality and visualization users understand and prefer on such a mobile. Second, we investigate how such a solution performs in terms of energy savings in comparison to other feedback solutions available today and what is necessary to motivate users to use such an application frequently over an extended period of time (engagement strategies, e.g. competitions, rewards, cross-selling). And third, we explore the potential of pattern recognition algorithms applied to the measured load curve to automatically recognize devices and thus provide a more specific feedback and guidance in terms of possible energy saving measures.

Description

Besides the industrial and the transport sector, residential and commercial buildings are a major sink of resources. Their share is increasing, and together they account for approximately 12% of the potable water and 73% of total electricity use in the US. The residential sector alone consumes 29% of electricity end use in the European Union, whereas it consumes 37% in the US.

It is widely accepted that electricity consumption in residential buildings is highly dependent on the habits of the occupants. Most people therefore could reduce their energy consumption (and thus save money and contribute to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions), but few know how much they consume and even fewer know for what purposes they use how much energy and which of their appliances in the house consumes most energy.

New metering technology allows for fine- grained real-time measurement of the entire consumption of the household. Therefore, we extended the capabilities of a smart electricity meter and developed a mobile phone interface that enables users to monitor, control, and interactively measure the consumption of their appliances. Together with a portable user interface on a mobile phone, our system enables users to track both the overall and the historical consumption of the household. Moreover, through a simple measurement functionality, the system further allows users to investigate the electricity consumption of single devices. Thus, users can identify the biggest energy guzzlers at home and change their behavior in a way that decreases their energy consumption.

Together with our industry partners, the system is currently evaluated in a field trial in multiple households in Switzerland. The goal of this project is threefold. First, we aim at evaluating what functionality and visualization is best suited for different customer segments. Second, we investigate how established concepts from other areas such as marketing can be utilized in the context of such energy feedback system to engage users for a longer period of time. And last, how the data gathered can be used to provide fine-grained feedback on the energy consumption at device level. Besides more specific feedback that leads to higher energy savings, this can potentially create new services such as cross-selling offers and targeted commercials based on real consumption data.

Links

http://www.vs.inf.ethz.ch/res/show.html?what=eMeter
Successful cooperation between Landis+Gyr and Bits to Energy lead to an innovative energy monitoring prototype recently released to public at Metering Europe 2010. Press Release

Contact

If you are interested in eMeter, please contact Markus Weiss ().