The rising cost of energy, the need for commercial viability and the protection of the climate call for more transparency in energy consumption. The general practice of annual energy bills does not help in this matter. Changes are on the horizon only with respect to the supply of electricity. By using intelligent energy meters, electricity consumers could view their consumption as it happens and would be in a better position to control it. With KNX, more detailed choices regarding the responsible use of energy are possible, not only for electricity but also for heat, water and fossil fuels such as oil and gas.
One key element for achieving more selective energy consumption patterns by consumers in buildings is to make it possible for them to monitor their ongoing energy consumption as directly as possible. For a long time now, we have had fuel consumption indicators in cars that show our current consumption: when we press the accelerator impulsively or drive with ‘a lead foot’, we can see immediately how our fuel consumption jumps up or stays high. It could be the same in buildings, but unfortunately, only very few are as yet equipped with such metering devices. This method, also called smart metering, provides intelligent metering and display of the energy consumed. But you can only make more economic choices with your use of energy, such as turning off appliances or shifting uses to cheaper tariff time zones, when you know where and what you are currently using energy, for.
We also have to question the usefulness of customers being informed about their heating costs when they do not get any information about the temperature in their rooms, the ventilation status of their windows or the occupation status of the apartment/house. How useful is it for customers to be informed about the cost of electricity supply when they do not know the settings of their various appliances or whether rooms are occupied or not? Customers will be able to draw better conclusions about consumption patterns and potential savings or about optimising their usage patterns when they have information about the temperature in their rooms, the ventilation status of their windows and the occupation status. For this situation, KNX offers visualisation and automation solutions that can be combined with the metering of energy data. The result of this implementation is active energy management, which can be used by customers to obtain information and, more importantly, will highlight any necessary changes of user patterns shown on the visual display.
The future has started
In the concept for introducing Smart Metering the ROI (return on vestment) or cost neutrality is of great importance. The investment is offset by increases in efficiency through on-line meter reading and billing and, particularly, by cost reductions in energy consumption. Any remaining cost gaps can be closed by additional services. Possible options are continuous user information, monitoring devices, eg smoke detectors, glass breakage sensors, room heating controls, monitoring facilities for the vital functions of occupants etc. An important prerequisite for these services is the compatibility of the metering devices and instruments with the KNX world.
FIGAWA, the association of more than 1000 companies that produce gas, heating and water meters recommends the use of KNX as the international standard for all transmission media in home and building automation, i.e. twisted pair, power line, radio frequency and IP. This shows that the different branches of the industry with different backgrounds, market objectives and target groups have worked together for the benefit of their customers. Even though KNX is already established as a standard, these synergies on the collection of consumption data will accelerate its success.
Detailed information with descriptive explanations and examples can be found in the new 16 page brochure ‘Smart Metering with KNX’ which is available through the website.