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Power Meters for Energy Management

March 12, 2013

Energy consumption data can help building operators and engineers to better manage their facility's energy use.  Current sensors and current transmitters have been commonly used as a relatively inexpensive way to estimate the amount of power used by a piece of equipment, but the price of power meters has decreased to the point that they should be considered for most submetering applications due to their functionality and superior accuracy.

Networked power meters are designed to provide access to the meter data using a network protocol. Modbus is perhaps the most popular open protocol used in power meters that are designed for submetering applications, but proprietary protocols are still widely used.  A variety of networked power meters are sold by the large electrical products companies such as Schneider Electric, GE, Eaton (Cutler Hammer) and Siemens.  

For the data from power meters to be truly useful, it should be easily accessible by building operators, and selected data should be routinely trended.  Devices such as the Cimetrics B6030 and B6035 can be used to convert data from many popular Modbus meters to the BACnet protocol which is commonly used in modern building control systems.  A small but increasing number of power meters that can directly communicate using BACnet are now being sold as well, such as the EIG Shark® 100B.

If you are a large commercial, industrial, or institutional energy user that needs assistance with a submetering system, Cimetrics may be able to help.

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