Wireless Metering Challenge

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Summary

The U.S. Department of Energy issued the Low-Cost Wireless Metering Challenge encouraging manufacturers to produce a cost-effective, accurate, wireless system capable of measuring various electric loads within a building and wirelessly communicating the data.  Although commercial buildings spend over 120 billion dollars annually on electricity, much of that energy is not measured or managed. Data provided by submeters can provide visibility on energy use to building owners and operators, allowing them to strategically implement energy efficiency measures that can save money.  Unfortunately, the technology for submetering has been cost-prohibitive putting savings out of reach in many circumstances. On May 15, 2017, DOE recognized wireless technology company Meazon for their exemplary performance in meeting the specifications. Although Meazon is the only company to meet the specification so far, the performance specification stands as an opportunity for other organizations to enhance the market for low cost submetering.

Goal

Catalyze the development of low cost sub-metering solutions.

Specification

Wireless Metering Challenge Specification Version 2.7

The Better Buildings Alliance's Technology Solutions Teams issued the Low-Cost Wireless Metering Challenge to industry in June 2013, challenging...

Wireless metering system during installation for communications test.

Specification Key Requirements

  • Low cost target
  • Electrical energy measurement
  • Reliable wireless data transmission to an onsite collection point
  • Operation independent from existing building networks

Opportunities

  • Better understanding of when and how energy is used can help building owners reduce costs by taking actions based on data.
  • Scalable, low cost wireless metering systems allow small initial installations that can inexpensively be expanded to measure additional loads in the future.
  • Wireless metering systems can be used independently or to complement a building automation system to assess energy use in specific areas and improve performance.
  • Obtaining and evaluating metered data can support energy cost allocation among tenants, meet regulations, and achieve sustainability goals.
  • Energy data can reveal operational opportunities beyond energy savings, including occupancy levels, resource utilization, and other infrastructure needs.

 

In-building testing of communication abilities of the wireless metering system was performed at the U.S. General Services Administration headquarters building in Washington, D.C., February 2017.

About

DOE issued a Challenge to industry to develop a wireless metering system with these attributes:

  • Low cost meter with a target equipment cost of under $100
  • Electrical energy measurement with easy-to-understand reporting
  • Reliable wireless data transmission to an onsite collection point
  • Operation independent from existing building Internet and intranet networks as well as the cloud
Status Update

Initially, 30 commercial firms indicated interest in participating in the Wireless Metering Challenge. A phased review approach was used to evaluate the candidate technologies.

Phase 1, Manufacturers submitted product and cost information to affirm their qualifications. Several firms met the basic criteria and approached the cost target.

Phase 2. Two firms, both small businesses, demonstrated full compliance with specification requirements by supplying independent laboratory test results and product certifications (UL61010).

Phase 3. The in-building communications test was performed on one system at the GSA Headquarters Building in Washington, DC. in February 2017.

Completion. The wireless technology company Meazon met the specifications and was recognized by DOE on May 15, 2017, for their exemplary performance in meeting the specifications.  Although the Challenge has ended, the performance specification stands as an opportunity for other organizations to enhance the market for low cost submetering.

Partners

The Energy Department worked with members of its Better Buildings Alliance and federal agencies to develop the specification. The performance-based specification is aimed at low cost electric energy sub-metering system requirements for a wireless metering system. The intent of the system is to provide adequate data that can be used to improve building systems performance. The Challenge focus is on panel-level metering, but the metering system could be applied at the whole building or circuit level.

Recognizing that measuring and monitoring granular electric energy consumption provides data that can support the implementation of energy efficiency improvements, partners signed letters of interest in purchasing the meters. Additionally, participating manufacturers committed to producing cost-effective wireless metering systems through a signed letter of intent.