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Meter Messenger #123 - New Energy Monitors for 2013
January 15, 2013
Energy Inc. Launches 3-phase TED-ProEnergy Inc., manufacturer of The Energy Detective (TED) series of energy monitors has launched a new product called the TED-Pro. The TED-Pro is designed to work with three phase power found in commercial and small industrial applications as well as split-phase and single phase circuits. It can also be configured to adjust thermostats automatically and shed specific loads based on user defined parameters.
The system consists of an Energy Control Center (ECC), one or more Measurement Transmission Units (MTU) and one or two Spyders that connect the MTU(s) to specific circuits in the electrical panel. Each Spyder contains eight channels that can measure single phase, split phase or three phase loads. Each MTU can accept input from one or two Spyders, measuring up to eight or sixteen single phase circuits, respectively. Up to eight MTU's can be managed by a single ECC.
Power Line Carrier (PLC) is the communication protocol used to transmit data from the MTU to the ECC. MTU's can collect both load and generation data so alternative energy production from solar or wind can be tracked. The ECC has a built-in display or an optional portable unit can be used to do load checking.
The ECC has two USNAP ports and one USB port and supports both WiFi and Zigbee communication protocols. WiFi is normally used to connect to a local area network, router or the Internet and Zigbee supports smart meters, remote thermostats and other load shedding devices.
TED Footprints software is compatible with the new TED-Pro. In addition to a handy dashboard, it also tracks historical data across a variety of time intervals. The rate stuctures section provides downloadable rate schedules or allows for more sophisticated programming of commercial utility rates. The results provide a more accurate cost calculation of the energy being measured than the TED-5000 version. The TED Footprints software comes with the system and has no monthly subscription fees.
The TED-Pro does offer some nice upgrades over the TED-5000 unit but still has some limitations the customer should be aware of. Maximum current per phase is limited to 400 amps, or a total current capacity of 1200 amps on a three phase circuit. Maximum conductor size is capped at 500 MCM. This will cover most panels found small businesses like restaurants or health clubs, but won't be practical for industrial switchgear or commercial buildings with large cooling and/or refrigeration loads.
The TED-Pro system is available from Energy, Inc. as an initial release package for $499.95. Stock is limited on this first release so back orders may occur as a result of high demand. Some of the load shedding software and full circuit capacity are still in preproduction testing and will not be available with this release. However, a simple firmware upgrade will bring these early units up to full capability when the software is finalized during the first quarter of 2013.
For more information click here for the TED-Pro summary and spec. sheet from Energy, Inc.
Brultech Launches Green Eye MonitorBrultech Research, Inc. has released a new energy monitoring system called the Green Eye Monitor or GEM. The system not only has the ability to track 32 electrical channels but has additional inputs for pulse signals and temperature sensors. These inputs can be used to capture the output from gas and water pulse meters and temperature sensors can track inside, outside or refrigerated space temperatures.
The GEM is designed to capture usage data, process it and forward it to a computer, local web server, home automation system or out to the web where is can be accessed by smart phone or other interactive device. Native communications use two RS232 com ports with WiFi, Ethernet and Zigbee available as options.
Brultech offers API information upon request to those who want to develop their own application or interface using the data the GEM system provides. The solution they offer is more complex than other off-the-shelf units, but offers greater flexibility and lower cost for those interested in developing their own energy management system.
The GEM not only measures single and split-phase loads but can also monitor three-phase up to 1200 amp loads using three 400 amp CT's. The smaller micro CT's of 40, 80, 100 and 170 amps deliver a current output while the larger split core CT's of 60, 100, 200 and 400 amps deliver a voltage output. As a result, each of the two types are connected to the terminal board in a different manner.
The pulse counter terminal block can receive input form up to four devices and supports both dry contact and 3.3 to 24 VDC signals. A one-wire bus receives input from temperature sensores that share a common 3-conductor cable. Sources for low cost pulse meters and temperature sensors are available from Brultech.
The sophistication built into the GEM is welcomed into the residential and small commercial market. However, this unit is not for beginners. A good understanding of network configuration and energy monitoring principles and techniques is recommended. If you are planning to interface the GEM with a home automation system or a separate energy monitoring app, some knowledge of API programming is also recommended.
The GEM is still in its pre-production phase. Only a limited quantity of units are available. Orders can be placed by contacting Brultech directly at firstname.lastname@example.org as they have not yet placed the unit on their web site store front. Pricing will need to be obtained at the time of order due to the wide variety of configurations and accessories.
Click here for more information about the Brultech GEM.
TVA's EnergyRight Solutions ProgramAs TVA's coal fired power plants age, they are becoming more problematic with regards to meeting air quality standards. One option is to convert these coal fired plants to natural gas which burns much cleaner. However, converting all eleven coal plants in TVA's jurisdiction is a huge capital investment which would cause a significant rate increase to all of the customers in the valley, something TVA wants to avoid.
To offset this impact, TVA has come up with the concept of a virtual power plant. It operates on the demand side of electric power delivery rather than the supply side and TVA is willing to pay for it. Called the EnergyRight Solutions program, it allocates rebate money from TVA to customers who make energy efficiency improvements that permanently remove load from the grid.
Geared primarily for commercial and industrial customers, the program will pay up to 70 percent of the cost of an energy saving retrofit. The most popular approach is to convert conventional lighting to more efficient bulbs such as LED's or T-8 fluorescents. Other energy saving moves that qualify are to install more efficient motors, HVAC systems or food service equipment.
Energy savings and rebates for these retrofits are calculated with detailed equipment replacement worksheets. In other words, one simply selects the type of unit removed and the type of unit used to replace it, and the worksheet calculates the rest. Custom retrofits are also allowed, provided the before and after energy consumption is clearly documented with an energy monitoring system.
The EnergyRight Solutions program has been in operation for a couple of years with great success. There was enough energy saved with the program last year to power a small city of about 12,000 people. This is equivalent to taking the load from Hopkinsville, KY or Athens, AL off of the grid.
One of the key reason's for the programs success is that a majority of the rebates are administered through the Preferred Partner's Network. This is a consortium of electrical contractors and other energy specialists that walk the customer through the rebate process using the worksheets provided by TVA. In many cases they can also perform the retrofit work. If you have a small business or know of someone that is considering an energy efficiency upgrade for their business, please contact us as we are a member of the Preferred Provider's Network and may be able to help reduce the project's cost.
Ten Energy Saving Tips
1. Consider using a kitchen exhaust fan cover to keep warm air from escaping when the fan is not in use. Covers attach with magnets and are easy to remove.
2. If your home uses radiators, place heat-resistant reflectors between the radiator and exterior wall.
3. Check warm air registers and/or baseboard heaters to be sure they are not blocked by furniture, carpet or drapes.
4.Close that fireplace damper first thing in the morning after using it the night before to keep cold air from plummeting down the chimney. Run your hand just over the top of the ashes to be sure that no heat is still being generated. If you close the damper prematurely your house will smell like a campfire before long.
5. Do you have any double pane windows that fog up? This indicates that the seal maintaining the vacuum between the panes has been broken. The thermal efficiency of double pane glass disappears when there is no longer a vacuum between the panes. 6. If you work at home or spend a fair amount of time at home alone, turn down your thermostat and use a space heater to keep your immediate work area comfortable. A 1500 watt spave heater only costs $0.15 per hour to run if you are billed at at $0.10 per kwh. Plus, there are no heat losses through the ducting.
7. If firewood is not readily available at your home consider burning sawdust logs or wood pellets in your fireplace or wood burning stove. The added heat offsets your heating bill and you will be using products made from the lumber production waste stream.
8. If you have a fireplace, install glass doors. They reduce heat loss up the chimney, aid in more efficient cumbustion and provide a barrier to sparks.
9. Having trouble keeping the house warm this winter. Check your central air ducting to be sure it is insulated. Ductwork passing through uninsulated spaces such as the attic or crawl space can loose up to 60 percent of its heat.
10. If you have a heat pump do not set back your thermostat more than a couple of degrees at night. With most systems if the thermostat asks for more than a two degree increase in the morning the supplemental heat strips are energized. They typically draw three to five times as much power as the compressor pump.
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