The Energy Hive service was developed in the DEHEMS project. It was designed to help people reduce their electricity consumption. Studies have shown that people reduce their electricity consumption by up to 20% when using monitoring tools.
The idea is to visualise electricity consumption in individual households to create energy awareness and make electricity consumers more active in order to stimulate reductions. Through a web-based service, users can see their electricity consumption on a dashboard indicating the kilowatts (kW) used in the household in real-time, and compare it to the consumption in other similar households. Also, the accumulated electricity consumption over the month is shown in kilowatt-hours (kWh), monetary value and kilograms of CO2 emissions. By inputting a monthly budget, users are also informed whether the cost for electricity consumption is within budget or not. Charts displaying the electricity consumption during the last 24 hours, last week or last month are also presented.
For the actual consumption measuring in the home, the following equipment is needed: i) sensor jaw and transmitter, ii) electricity monitor, iii) data gathering hub iv) computer with broadband internet access
i) The sensor jaw is connected to the electricity supply cable of the household, and sends information on the consumption via a transmitter. The signal is sent to the household electricity monitor and to a data-gathering hub every six seconds.
ii) The electricity monitor is a real-time display, showing the consumption information on a screen. Any electricity monitor compatible with the hub can connected to display the results in the home.
iii) At the same time, the hub is sending information to a service database were all consumption data are stored. The information is sent via the household broadband connection, and each household using the service has a private and secure area for individual data storage identified by their IP address. The hub needs to be purchased from the service providers, as it is customized for this application.
iv) The individual energy profile can be viewed via a web browser through any computer with a broadband connection to the internet. Data is stored for over two years, enabling the consumer to identify behaviour patterns in their electricity use in order to facilitate reductions.
The service has been successfully deployed in the data centre infrastructure of the first commercial-scale smart grid roll-out in Australia.