Who's your energy detective?

We can’t resist new gadgets. But…before we bring them to a client, we test them out.

What’s that light or appliance costing me? At the Croton Energy Group, we can’t resist new gadgets. But…before we bring them to a client, we test them out.

When designing an energy back up system, a key question is how much of the building’s load should or must be served during the power outage conditions. We call that the critical load: What can I live without and still be comfortable?

In order to answer that question, we need to estimate the critical load hidden with your building’s base electric load.

We can estimate the size of a critical load using generic or owner’s manual wattages for each appliance.

Or we can identify it precisely using a neat gadget like TED. We’re not talking about Ted, the bear! TED stands for The Energy Detective.

In the video, Patrick shows how TED’s measurement units attach to circuits in a service panel. In our case, we have TED attached to 3 different circuits: the refrigerator, the oil burner, and the entire load for a home.

In addition to measurement units and transmitters at the service panel, TED comes with a nice hand-held monitor and charging dock. 

Our goal is to see and record real time use changes to isolate the really critical devices.  As we walk though the home, turning fixtures and appliances on and off, TED shows us the change in about 5 seconds.

As you can see in the video, with the lights on in this kitchen, we use 518 watts, which would cost us about $0.06 per hour. 

When we turn off the lights presto! We see the real-time use drop to 342 watts per hour at a cost of about $0.04 per hour in the second photo.

Therefore, we have just confirmed that this kitchen’s lighting requires 176 watts, regardless of what we estimated.  This instant real-time reading is much easier than checking inside each fixture to record the lamp and ballast wattage. And this is much more accurate than using generic wattages.

TED also comes with dashboard software that captures and records the transmitted energy use. You can view this and analyze this data numerous different ways on your computer.

Third party apps are available as well that allow you to view TED”s output remotely, via a web portal from anywhere. Here is a screen shot of one such energy management app from Eragy

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Ed Robin January 26, 2013 at 03:41 PM


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