The project BeAware has developed a number of innovative technical solutions and
damage-reducing techniques to activate electricity consumers in order to increase energy efficiency in households. The solutions are related to the actual electricity consumption in the household and therefore require access to accurate and continuous data updates.
An innovative sensing platform has been developed to fulfil this need, containing two layers: A network of sensors placed in the home of the consumer, and a solution for data storage.
Data on electricity consumption is obtained from a number of miniaturised and wireless sensing devices in the household. The devices measure individual consumption of certain devices if plugged into the sockets of electrical appliances such as refrigerator, washing-machine, toaster or lamps, and can also measure the whole household consumption when attached to the fuse box. A wireless pulse counter is reading the mains. The sensors, developed within the framework of the project, are designed to fulfil a number of criteria that are crucial for this type of consumption measuring: A reliable measurement at the desired level of accuracy is essential. Also, the sensor needs to have low power consumption for its internal operation, and the capability of measuring consumption up to nominal socket outlet rating. It must be immune to electrical disturbances in electrical networks, and should not cause any disturbances in other devices. The hardware consists of power supply, analogue measurement connection, analogue-to-digital conversion, computation and communications control and radio communication parts. The BeAware sensor transmits power quality data every 2 seconds to base station over the wireless link and consumption data every 20 seconds.
The heart of the sensor network is a base station, gathering and processing all data and communicating with the BeAware application Energy Life and the ambient interfaces Watt-Lite Twist and LAIT. Almost any computer can act as a base station, as the communication of sensor network is based on radio transmitters that can be connected to any standard usb port with power supply. The only requirements are sufficient disk space and the ability to run a modern linux and python 2.6. Otherwise, the base station is hardware and language independent and can cache data for several years. The base station sends sensor data to the storage solution: A cloud service that stores, analyses and further communicates data to the users.
The data analysing capabilities of the storage system are extensive and the time frame for the analysis depends on whether the analysis is performed for real-time, incoming data or for stored data upon request. Since the system checks every sensor and device for each analysis, the real-time analysis is somewhat delayed and the system is actually capable of performing a next-to-real time analysis (1-3 min) of consumption. Analysis of stored data often takes place over longer time periods; hours to months. Analysis can be performed for:
- The current use of electricity in the household, calculated from raw sensor data
- Baseline consumption of the household
- Standby detection to reduce electricity use in household devices that are not in use
- Usage cycles for certain household devices, providing information on number of cycles, length and energy demand
- Pushing alerts to users
- Giving advice based on consumption patterns
Spagnolli, A.; Corradi, N.; Gamberini, L.; Hoggan, E. E.; Jacucci, G.; Katzeff, C.; Broms, L. & Jönsson, L. (2011), 'Eco-Feedback on the Go: Motivating Energy Awareness.', IEEE Computer 44 (5) , 38-45.
BeAware project: D1.5 Final report, 2011
The BeAware website: http://www.energyawareness.eu