What is smart energy?

The term “smart energy” comes from the philosophy of always using the most cost effective long term approach to meeting your energy needs, while maintaining the lowest environmental impact.

SmartPowerEd’s primary smart energy solution uses smart meter devices and software on a public dashboard.

What are smart meters?

Smart meters are devices that track energy usage in more detail than a conventional meter. Right now, the average building has electricity meters that measure the energy flow to your school building in order to be charged by the electric utility company, such as PG&E. Normal meters only measure total use over certain set periods of time and do not display peak use hours or other details that would help you regulate and decrease your energy use.

Smart meters provide a real-time data feed that gives power through knowledge [see below].

Where can you see the data the smart meter tracks?

Smart meter software is available online (iPhone, your school’s website, SmartPowerEd website) to see data analysis in terms of energy cost ($) and consumption (kilowatt hours). The software provides a live feed of your school’s energy consumption, which is updated every 15 minutes. Access to the online data will be dependent on your school, but, usually, the whole data set is accessible to your facilities manager and a limited view would be accessible to students.

Example of Smart meter data available on a school website

Why do it? Why does it matter?
Read about The Problem We Face.

Typically, schools just get an energy bill at the end of the month and they have no clue when and where all of their energy is being consumed. By tracking energy every 15 minutes and on a per building basis, you can visualize how much energy is being at any time.

Most people don’t know how much energy they are using at school, so they don’t know when they are wasting energy. While the smart meters track your school’s energy consumption, the software provides:

  • anomalies (i.e. abnormal spikes in the middle of the night or weekend)
  • real time energy consumption (updated every 15 minutes)
  • historical trends (you can see how much energy you’ve used since installation and compare energy usage)
  • carbon tracking (shows you your school’s carbon footprint after saving energy)

Once you see how much energy you’re using during various times of the day (peak hours or expensive hours), that will trigger a behavioral change where people are more aware of how much energy they are using and they will be more inclined to conserve it (i.e turning off lights when not in use, stop charging fully charged computers, etc).

Other information:

Smart Grid

Smart Building Predictions 2010