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What demand management devices and software are currently available?

GBA Editor | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I’d like to install a real time energy load data system to all new electrical systems I work on. From what I gather, each circuit is individually metered and reported (either through a fixed device or web application), which allows the end user to spot usage spikes and take actions to lower their usage.

It seems like these wouldn’t be overly complex devices, but from what I gather they are virtually non existant in the marketplace. Looks like both Google (PowerMeter) and Mircosoft (Hohm) have applicaitons in beta that look very promising. It’s not clear how either intend to measure individual circuits.

Has anyone had experience with these systems?
And recommendations for the best hardware?


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    We are working on a project with Jan-Dieter Spalink at Truveon Inc to do real time web-interactive energy monitoring on a couple of projects. They have modules that can log electrical usage on 120 and 240 breakers and also log indoor temp and humidity and, I think, nat. gas usage. But their business model is to work for large utilities and I'm an exception that they are doing a little data mining as a special favor since I'm local to them here in NC. They also have a project set up with Cimarron Homes (which has a project in the Green homes section here ) but they are pretty clear that they pick and choose the folks they get involved with according to their internal priorities and I feel pretty lucky they they have agreed to do data logging for me.

    The folks over at Advanced Energy use the HOBO environmental logging systems to do long term research and this is probably the best path for you. their U10-003 temp and relative humidity logger is only $80 and their H22-001 Energy Logger Pro can handle up to 15 sensors for $414 plus sensors and cables etc, etc.

    Since you are in Durham NC you might be able to work a deal with either Truveon or Advanced Energy to do this monitoring or possibly Southern Energy Management might be able to set it up for you. The first thing is to decide what exactly you want to monitor and for how long and how much money you are willing to spend to have the logging done. (and what you plan to do with the data once you have it in front of you)

  2. user-669103 | | #2

    Arh - something I know about...

    I've done this on my own home. If you cannot measure it, how can you improve it?
    I currently have 3 separate real time electrical monitors (Power, Energy ,Volts, Amps, Power factor) they work with 120 or 240 or split. I'm monitoring whole house, HVAC, and water heating.
    The system I'm using is here:, I'm using the RS485 linked to an old laptop.
    This is another system that I considered:

    Depending on you time frame I know that ekmmetering have some newer products in the pipeline.

    Actually the meters used in both are the same, the system at uses the pulse output of the meters rather than the RS-485 output. RS-485 is like RS-232 but can be used in harsher environments -- it is a serial bus. There is also an adapter to ethernet available.

    I've been looking at Microsoft Hohm and given MS a lot of feedback, and waiting for Google Power. I may write some software to transmit data to one of these from my ekm meters, but neither Hohm or Google Power plan to support Solar net metering in their V1.0.

  3. user-669103 | | #3

    The HoBo system that Michael gave the link to looks very professional. It may be more suited to commercial application than what I needed. Essentially the Hobo is a datalogger with options like web output. The KWh sensors are relatively expensive, but if you can live with AC current and multiply by 115 or 230 then those sensors are just simple current transformers.

    With the system you supply the logger - e.g. a laptop and they provide software and sensors that talk to the computer. I have the same laptop control the HVAC, and monitor my solar inverters. So I needed an always on laptop anyway.

    With they provide a stand alone logger.
    The energy / power sensors are EKM, but their temperature (and humidity) sensors are 1-wire bus and very cheap.

  4. kevin_in_denver | | #4

    I would have bet the Google PowerMeter would eventually be successful. Alas, both it and MS Hohm have been discontinued:

    I have an opinion on why they've been shut down.

    In many jurisdictions (states), the PUCs (utility governing bodies) have been too arbitrary and capricious. Therefore it doesn't make sense for the private sector to pursue the business model.

    It will probably take a unified National Smart Grid policy to get the industry where it should be. The obvious shortcut that no one has the guts to pursue is deregulation, just like what happened to telephone service in the 1980s. Deregulation spawned technological innovation of such magnitude, that lo and behold, most of us today have free long distance service.

    Xcel in Colorado, however, has already botched a smart grid pilot project:

    Electricity deregulation won't be simple, California botched it ten years ago:

    In Colorado, careful demand management isn't even rewarded any more:

  5. user-973188 | | #5

    Yeah, pity about Hohm and Google... but, from an article I read at Ars Technica, Tendril is a company that's still in the running for this type of product.

    Bet you that Microsoft will wait until Tendril is far enough along to be bought out... ;)

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