Navetas creates intelligent home energy meter

A metering system has been developed by engineers at Navetas that accurately measures the electricity consumption of each appliance in a home. It is capable of monitoring gas and water usage, and also home-generated electricity for sale back to the grid.

Developed in conjunction with the Cambridge Design Partnership, the home energy hub offers distribution companies a single point to monitor multiple utilities.

Nick Wellington of Navetas said that, while home energy monitor products have recently become popular, these have limited functionality as they only provide an estimate of usage. The problem for the householder is that the final bill can vary widely from this estimate.

’Our solution provides an accurate measure of the actual energy usage and can be broken down by appliance. It is possible then to compare the efficiency of appliances and see, at a glance, where energy is being used,’ he said.

The smart hub can be easily retrofitted by a utility company as it attaches at the point where the service enters the house. The information is then sent wirelessly and made available to the householder through a touch-screen display located in the house.

The ability to drill down to examine the consumption of individual appliances is due to the fact that the unit can identify the ’signatures’ of individual electrical appliances by interpreting both mains voltage and current electricity waveforms.

Engineers at the Cambridge Design Partnership developed the Smart Hub’s styling and mechanical design, and developed the electronics and software to provide the functionality, including supporting Navetas in implementing its patented algorithm in hardware.

In addition, the company’s product designers created a remote user interface that presents data from the Smart Hub on a wireless touch-sensitive screen, allowing users to examine their real-time energy use and energy-saving statistics interactively.

Richard Hunt of Cambridge Design Partnership said: ’If people are aware of the true cost of their consumption of services, they are in a stronger position to introduce strategies that will save them money and cut down on waste. Our work has been directed at making this information easy to collect and display in a format that the householder can understand and act upon.’

Could technology that is under trial in the US point the way for the deployment of smart grids in the UK? Click here to read more (subscription required).