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Home Energy Consumption Monitor

a central display which shows how much gas, water and electricity you've consumed-to-date
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like many, the first clue i have as to how much gas, water and electricity i have consumed is after i have consumed it and am on the hook to pay for it.

though you could look at the meters for each utility, i think the info would be useful for the environmentally conscious if it were in a convenient display that could be easily monitored.

could have settings that extrapolate your monthly usage and bills, and may inspire you to curb consumption now instead of next month.

while individual meters are certainly baked i don't know of a centralized consumer device that does this.

xclamp, Aug 24 2004

aha! http://www.wired.co...ive/9.01/meter.html
Wired news wins the prize. However, I still think I saw it in some other magazine first. [Laughs Last, Oct 05 2004]

is your home green? the orb could be used to tell you. http://www.ambientd...t/orb/orborder.html
[xclamp, Oct 05 2004]

Electricity only though http://www.safehome...tricity_Monitor.asp
[Emi-chan, Oct 05 2004]

[link]






       I swear I've seen this somewhere before, but in its previous incarnation it changed colors and gave emotional signals to motivate the home owner to want to make the uni-meter happy by conserving. I'll see if I can scrounge up a link.
Laughs Last, Aug 24 2004
  

       very slick link. i guess those guys are *slightly* more creative than me. an ambient device might be cool as well (link).
xclamp, Aug 24 2004
  

       I hate interfaces like that. I need numbers. When I hear my refrigerator kick on, I need to see that my demand has shot up from 20% of peak to 95%, and see that it's costing me $2 a week in order to encourage me to close the door while making a sandwich.
Worldgineer, Aug 24 2004
  

       Once again, this is an idea whose time is coming (soon!), at least in the UK.
Currently, it is a requirement of every new building in the UK (and I think Europe too), or every 'extensively modified' building, to provide a Building Log Book. Think of this as an 'car Handbook and M.O.T. Certificate' for your building.
Principally, the document sits chained to a desk and ultimately breaks the building performance down into kg of CO2 per Metre^2 per year. The information is retrieved from utility meters which must comprise NOT LESS Than 90% of all consumption of the building either directly or indirectly metered.
In a few years we will be buying and selling CO2 credits.
There are moves afoot to introduce this to new domestic properties.
There are many commercial metering solutions available that can display utility information for a building but they are not yet affordable to the average domestic user.
People are developing 'lightweight' utility packages for domestic use. Most of the commercial solutions can offer access through a standard Web Browser. I suspect that the domestic will do similar, if not through XML or somesuch (SOAP?) then through good ol' RS232 serial (via USB now!).
Sorry about the long anno, I will try and find some info to back this up (we are currently looking at the integration of these systems to other systems (fire, BMS, lifts, legacy HVAC etc). I have some paper docs but will attempt to find them electronically
gnomethang, Aug 25 2004
  

       the idiot's solution:   

       why not require all buildings to have two sets of meters?   

       One outside the unit and one inside. The outside is for people to check things, and the inside is for the user to instantly know how much they are using.
adamosity, Aug 25 2004
  

       Yeah! I know! - so much guff!
gnomethang, Aug 25 2004
  

       yea.. right... the water and gas and electric comanies would never support such a thing... all that means for them is thiner pockets.
Labenset, Aug 25 2004
  

       Utility companies don't have to support this. [gnome]'s example is government sanctioned, and [xclamp]'s device could be installed by the consumer.
Worldgineer, Aug 25 2004
  

       Very true!. As an industry we were exhorted to "act before our government(s) act for us. As domestic users, we should act before the laws are in place and the costs rise with demand. We have just had a water meter installed (as part of a savings exercise on UK bills) and would be very keen to add more particularly if it could be implemented as [xclamp] describes. Bunning this besause I don't beieve that there is a truly cost effective or user accessible domestic solution at present.
gnomethang, Aug 25 2004
  

       [gnomethang], it will be a strange world indeed if we end up buying energy, water & gas using an invoice which reads Nm3 CO2.
So I would like reserve the right to buy nuclear energy in the distant future.

Anyway, most meters can be easily equipped with pulse generation (one pulse per turn etc.) These can be sent by wire or wireless transmission to a cheap PC, and the PC can do the rest. If no pulse, then use a wireless camera with OCR!
Ling, Aug 25 2004
  

       There are also meters that allow for 'fly-by' reading using wifi (and in some cases infra red) as you say [Ling]. BTW - what I meat was that there will be a market in credits (i.e. rebates on newly introduced taxes) specifically dealing with a specific commercial bulding and its efficiency against benchmark and good practice guidelines of Kg/CO2/m^2/year.
gnomethang, Aug 26 2004
  

       Yeah, sorry. My lateral thinking part of the brain went into a dream like state. Not enough coffee, I suppose.
Ling, Aug 26 2004
  

       [Ling] A power meter can be even easier than that. A simple wire coil around one power line, along with a voltage meter and a way of relaying that info (wireless, ethernet, simple wire to a multimeter).
Worldgineer, Aug 26 2004
  

       I have tried to get this done on a number of projects that I have been working on, but generally, its the initial first cost that prevents most clients from wanting to do this. If you can come up with a low cost, simple way of implimenting this, I'll give you 2 buns. (here's the first as an advance +)
energy guy, Aug 26 2004
  

       [Worldgineer], electric meters are easy. Most have a pulse output option & even the old rotating disc can be fitted with a optical switch working on a black patch.
2 phase watt meters can be home made as you describe, if you don't care about power factor or harmonic distortion. Home brew 3 phase watt-meters are a little bit more complex.
The problem comes with the old style water or gas meters, which have those spinning dials.
The water meter might be ok if you reflect off the fastest star type dial. But it might be a bit hit and miss.
Another way that would work in the UK, where header tanks are nearly always used:
Put two level switches in the header tank. One for "full" and one for "empty". Only fill the tank when the level changes to empty. Then use a pressure sensor in the bottom of the tank to detect rate of change of level, and hence flow rate. Of course, this is frought with difficulties, such as when you are filling and draining at the same time.
Yet another method, which would work with water and gas, would be to install orifice plates in the pipes, and monitor the differential pressure across the orifice. Take the square root and you have the instantaneous flow rate. Not accurate, but OK if it is not used for billing.
Ling, Aug 26 2004
  
      
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