Monitoring the Energy Consumption of Large Commercial Buildings with AI and the IoT
Joan Thompson posted on September 14, 2016 |
IoT device goes beyond smart metering to predict electrical breakdowns and optimize consumption.

Verdigris, an artificial intelligence (AI) company, has launched an Internet of Things (IoT) energy management platform named Einstein.

The latest release can be implemented into larger buildings with complex utility systems. The goal is to provide insight for utility managers and improve on the building’s electrical consumption, saving energy, money and the environment.
Verdigris smart meters use 4G/LTE sensors to collect continuous, real-time data. (Image courtesy of Verdigris.)

Verdigris smart meters use 4G/LTE sensors to collect continuous, real-time data. (Image courtesy of Verdigris.)

Why Einstein Thinks Differently

Utility meters are becoming increasingly “smart.” It is not necessarily a unique idea to attach sensory devices to electrical systems to better understand their efficiency, usage patterns and environmental factors. IoT engineers, however, are still trying to think outside the box when it comes to making electrical systems not only smart, but ingenious.

The new release of Einstein promises building efficiency optimization through automatic controls, future breakdown predictions and a critical notification system for users about building energy use.

“Einstein makes it unbelievably easy to know what’s happening inside your building in real time, down to a single appliance,” said Verdigris CEO Mark Chung. “We put hard-earned money back into our customers’ pockets each month by predicting the most accurate forecasts of utility, weather and energy data and automating the reduction of their most inefficient energy operations.”

How AI Smart Metering Systems Work

When an electrical appliance is operating, it generates an electrical signature. Verdigris technology works by constantly detecting these signatures from each appliance in real time. The system then employs AI to interpret patterns and behavior of each appliance. Einstein detects these changes in the electrical signature using frequency domain analysis. This process allows engineers to detect changes in the signals that could identify potential problems.

In a Verdigris smart system, sensors are clipped onto circuit breakers, networked together and wired into a cellular gateway. Data from these sensors is then streamed to cloud-based software for analysis. This captured data is also coupled with weather and electricity pricing data for the region. This data integration introduces a system that alerts building managers when their facilities are using large amounts of electricity during high demand and when they can turn off heating and cooling systems with respect to the current weather.

On top of informing building managers during critical periods of energy use, the software makes suggestions about what electrical equipment should be adjusted to bring electric consumption back down, saving managers the headache of playing trial and error to figure it out themselves.

What Sets Einstein Apart from Other IoT Smart Meters

Einstein utilizes the Verdigris sensors for circuits with a maximum capacity of 60 amps (larger capacity circuits require a third party sensor with an adapter module). In an electric panel, each circuit has a single sensor clamped to it, and they are then daisy-chained together and led to the Einstein data transmitter.

The transmitter contains the sensor wires, where they are connected to a Verdigris computing device with a 4G gateway.

Verdigris claims that Einstein differs from their previous hardware because it is more straightforward to install, and it has an integrated cellular radio. Previous equipment from the company required an attachment to an external data connectivity system.

Einstein offers two discrete applications for easier use:

  • The tracker application generates warnings to building managers about high energy demand forecasts. The application also warns operators if an electrical signature suggests an electrical appliance requires preventative maintenance. Additionally, the app also tracks instances of oddly high electrical consumption in just one part of the building.
  • The dashboard application allows building managers to look at the performance of equipment over time, projected over weeks or months. This application also allows them to monitor and control electrical appliances remotely within the building.

To learn more about Einstein applications, or to view some more specs, visit Verdigris’ website.

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