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A Low Cost Smart Energy Monitoring and Control System for

Smart Buildings
Sarmad Sohaib*, Ismail Sarwar*, Muhammad Haseeb Iftikhar*, and Aneeq Mahmood †

*University of Engineering and Technology, Taxila, Pakistan
†Centre for Integrated Sensor Systems, Danube University Krems, Austria

footprint. Further, such a system can also be linked with

Keywords: Smart energy system, monitoring, control, energy generation estimates and monitoring to further optimize the
meter, ADE7753. building level consumption [7-9].
It should be noted that, different designs of smart meters that
With the global energy demand to rise significantly in future, predict power consumption can be found in the literature [10,
the onus is to reduce energy wastage by employing real-time 11]. However, these solutions are usually high cost and
energy-consumption monitoring and control. In this work, a n therefore not viable for developing regions. In this work, a
energy consumption measuring plug is designed and low-cost real-time energy measurement and actuating system
developed which monitors and controls energy usage of is developed that easily integrates with home monitoring
appliances in real-time. The design itself is based on low-cost, systems. The total unit cost during the development stages
commercially available hardware such as ADE7753 energy was $13 which obviously will go down further in mass
meter IC, ATmega8 microcontroller, current sensor, etc. The production.
monitoring system developed has shown low average error
rate of 0.66 % in power measurement when compared to The design itself is based on low-cost, commercially available
commercially deployed energy meters, hence proving its hardware such as ADE7753 energy meter IC, ATmega8
accuracy. The analysis of individual feedback on energy microcontroller, 10 A current transformer, Wi-Fi module,
usage based on these smart monitors is being carried out as microcontroller, power supply etc. The monitoring system
part of a five weeks field trial. In these five weeks of trial, the developed has shown low average error rate of 0.66 % in
proposed system has led to about 12% reduction in average power measurement when compared to commercially
power consumption when compared with legacy systems that deployed energy meters, hence proving its accuracy. The
do not involve smart monitoring systems. analysis of individual feedback on energy usage, based on
these smart monitors, is being carried out as part of a five
1 Motivation and Problem Statement weeks field trial in the Electrical Engineering department
building, where 20 nodes have been distributed to observe the
Due to urbanization, residential and commercial building power profile of different loads. The field test of the proposed
loads are increasing at a high rate particularly in developing system has led to about 12% reduction in average power
countries. This is leading to a demand-supply deficit in many consumption when compared with legacy systems that do not
countries [1, 2]. Analysis performed in [3] also shows that the involve smart monitoring systems.
global energy demand will double by the end of 2030. This
exponentially increasing energy demand will have negative The rest of the paper is organized as follows: Section 2
repercussions on the environment as well. Naturally the focus provides the detailed implementation of the developed
is not only to generate more electricity through conventional system; Section 3 presents the experimental results of the
and alternative means, but also curtail the demand side field trial; the paper is concluded with an outline of future
through better management. work in Section 4.

Studies [4, 5] have suggested that more energy can be saved

2 System Description
in buildings with direct real-time energy consumption
feedback as compared to those with indirect feedback like Fig. 1 illustrates the functional block diagram of developed
monthly bills. Smart meters [6] have been installed in many energy measurement and control unit with wireless data
developed countries. They, however, only measure energy transmission. It consists of five primary components: energy
consumption at house level and are not able to precisely meter IC, current to voltage converter, microcontroller, solid
understand the user’s energy usage pattern. Motivated by this, state relay, and Wi-Fi module. The system measures the
we have developed a low-cost interactive energy management power consumption every 9 sec and broadcasts it to the Wi-Fi
system that lets the residents understand their electricity usage router via Wi-Fi module for it to be saved in database on the
patterns and adapt their behaviour to reduce their energy

web server. The users can login to the web page to get the 2.2.1 Shunt Resistor
details of the energy consumption patterns. Here we discuss
It is one of the most inexpensive and simplest of methods to
the primary components used in the developed energy
convert current to voltage and thus used in cheap energy
measuring plug.
meters. Two Manganin shunt resistors, typically in the range
of mΩ to μΩ, are placed in series and the drop across the
resistor measures the current flowing through it.

Although the shunt resistors are small and cheap, they result
in power loss due to the series resistance [2]. The resistance
may also vary significantly with temperature which may also
affect the sensing circuit.

2.2.2 Hall Effect Sensor

Another method to convert current to voltage is via Hall
Effect sensor which employs the Hall Effect to measure
current. These sensors come in two versions; in-line and
clamp-on. Clamp-on is not usually used due to its form factor.
In-line Hall effect sensor is a transducer that intercepts the
Fig. 1: Functional block diagram of developed energy AC current and varies its output voltage in response to a
measuring unit with wireless data transmission. magnetic field. One of the advantages of using this sensor is
that it provides a good electric isolation.

Hall sensors usually have a DC offset in the output voltage

which is beneficial while measuring the DC currents
especially in the case of negative DC currents. However, in
I-V conversion AC current measurement, this DC offset needs to be removed.
A series capacitor is used for such purposes which in return
could create a phase mismatch. External voltage is also
μ-controller required to energize the Hall sensor which could be
Energy meter challenging in many circuits. Moreover, this method is more
IC ADE 7753 expensive than the other methods.

2.2.3 Current Transformer

A third method of converting current to voltage is by using
Solid state
relay Power current transformer (CT) that comes in two versions; in-line,
supply and non-contacting clamp on. This device is also low priced
and is much safer than shunt resistor as it provide a good
Fig. 2: Developed prototype of smart energy plug. electrical coupling between low voltage circuit and high
voltage AC input.
2.1 Energy Meter IC
The output terminals of CT should not be left open circuited
Analog device ADE7753 is used for calculating current, as it can induce high voltage which could possibly damage
voltage, and energy with high accuracy. This IC is selected the winding. A carefully chosen small value burden resister
because it provides real, reactive and apparent power should therefore be used to maintain the linearity of CT.
calculations and supports IEC 60687/61036/61268 and Moreover no external voltage is needed for energizing
IEC 62053-21/62053-22/62053-23 standards. It has internal purpose as input primary voltage is sufficient to energize the
integration operation to provide energy measurements from CT. Here we used in-line CT to convert current to voltage.
the power. ADE 7753 stores all the measured parameters in
registers, and communicates with microcontroller via serial 2.3 Microcontroller
peripheral interface (SPI) link making the data acquisition
process simple. A cheap, small size and versatile ATmega8 microcontroller is
used in this project which provides SPI, UART and I2C
2.2 Current-to-Voltage Conversion communication methods. It also provides 6 ADC inputs and 3
timers for additional functionalities. ATmega8 belongs to the
Multiple methods are available in literature to convert current family of Atmel AVR microcontrollers that are also known
to voltages. Some of which are discussed here. for their low power consumption.

The microcontroller ATmega8 has 28 I/O pins which makes it allows users to add/remove a device. Users can also turn the
small in size but still gives enough pins to interface LCD, device ON/OFF remotely.
energy IC, WiFi module and other sensors. This
microcontroller provides a feature of two external interrupts Web application is designed to monitor and control user’s
which are useful for zero-crossing detection and interrupt energy usage. The user adds a device using its MAC address
handling of energy IC. The energy IC provides measurements which is stored in the database against user’s ID and starts to
using SPI communication. The Wi-Fi module on the other communicate with the server automatically.
hand works on UART communication method. The ATmega8
microcontroller can simultaneously get data from the energy
IC, and send it to the Wi-Fi module as it supports both SPI
and UART communication protocols.

2.4 Control
The device control part is also included in the developed
energy meter plug that gives remote access of the load to the
user. This enables user to control the connected device
through website. This is a massive help to the users who have
a habit of leaving the appliance ON while away from the
office. The users can monitor the status of all connected
appliance remotely and take the necessary action.
Fig.3: Data visualization on MySQL.
Two types of relays are generally used for controlling the
devices; mechanical relay, and solid state relay. The
mechanical relay has some serious drawbacks, e.g., it 3 Experimental Results
produces spark for heavy loads, has shorter life span, and
makes noise during changing its state. Moreover, to change The developed prototype is first tested for its accuracy in
the state of mechanical relay, it has to energize its coil which power, voltage and current measurements. DM Metering
needs more current and voltage than the solid state relay. PRO2DM by Inepro Metering is used as reference meter.
Normally solid state relays give a big range of energizing Table 1 shows all measured parameters with the
voltage e.g. 3-32 V to control the load. The solid state relay corresponding references. It can be observed that the
has a very long life span, and also is completely quite during developed system has good average accuracy of 0.66% in
state change. Due to these reasons, a solid state relay is used active power measurements. The average accuracy gets even
in this project. better for resistive load like blub which is found to be 0.14%.
This is much better than the average accuracy of power
2.5 Radio Link measurement of blub using system developed by Suryadevara
et. al. that is 2.48% [12].
For Radio linking we are using ESP8266 Wi-Fi module. This
module is widely used nowadays in Internet of Things (IoT) It can be observed from data in the Table 1 that the power
projects due to its small size and big range with low power measurement of bulb has approximately no error whereas the
consumption. The module supports the 802.11 b/g/n wireless fan shows a great error in power measurements. This is due to
standards with security support of WPA/WPA2. the fact that we are only measuring an active power here and
fan is an inductive load. That is why we are currently working
The module comes interfaced with an 8 KB ROM which can on the measurement of reactive power that can then be used
store the service set identifier (SSID) and password of the Wi- to measure the apparent power consumed by the appliance.
Fi network, thereby letting the device to automatically
connect to the saved networks. The firmware of the module A field trial has been undertaken to understand the energy
also resides in this ROM which can be automatically usage profile over time, person, and load type. We have
upgraded when connected with an internet connection. distributed 20 meters in the Electrical Engineering department
building of the university. Different office appliances are
2.6 Web Server connected to the meter, and the meter itself is plugged into
power mains. Table 2 shows type of appliances that were
The Wamp server is setup on a local PC that operates as a
connected on the plugs at different locations. Any electrical
web server and offers monitoring and control of energy usage
appliance with power consumption less than 1 kW can be
to interested users. It uses a simple PHP development
connected with the developed system.
environment, and SQL as a database. Fig. 3 shows the power
data being stored in the database. A simple HTTP protocol is
The sampling time is set to 9 sec. The voltage, current and
used for communication between server and Wi-Fi module.
power consumption data is streamed regularly to the database
The graphical user interface (GUI) of the web application
on the server for further possessing and analysis. The
collected data is also displayed through the GUI.

%age %age
Known Load Ref. Voltage Measured Ref. Current Measured Ref. Power Measured %age Power
Appliance Voltage Current
(W) (V) Voltage (V) (A) Current (A) (W) Power (W) Error
Error Error
Filament Bulb 100 235 234 0.43 0.46 0.47 2.17 107 107 0.00
Filament Bulbs 200 232 232 0.00 0.93 0.93 0.00 216 216 0.00
Filament Bulbs 300 230 230 0.00 1.38 1.38 0.00 318 317 0.31
Filament Bulbs 400 230 229 0.43 1.84 1.84 0.00 424 425 0.24
Filament Bulbs 500 229 228 0.44 2.29 2.27 0.87 527 528 0.19
Energy Saver Bulb 24 236 234 0.85 0.18 0.18 0.00 21 21 0.00
Energy Saver
224 234 233 0.43 1.02 1.02 0.00 239 238 0.42
Bulb+Filament Bulbs
Pedestal Fan 150 233 232 0.43 0.77 0.78 1.30 163 168 3.07
Pedestal Fan+
350 229 229 0.00 1.62 1.62 0.00 364 372 2.20
Filament Bulbs
Heater 400 231 230 0.43 1.63 1.62 0.61 379 377 0.53
600 229 228 0.44 2.54 2.53 0.39 583 585 0.34

Table 1: Percentage error of measured voltage, current and active power illustrating the high accuracy of developed system.

Desktop computer with monitor

Load Type Quantity
Desktop computers 6
Power drawn (W)

Table lamps 4 150

Laptops 3 100
Fans 3
Printers 2
Two bulbs light sets 2 0
0 5 10 15 20

Table 2: Number of devices monitored using developed T440p laptop

Power drawn (W)


Fig. 4 shows the power profile of an office desktop computer 20

and laptop on a typical day. It is observed that the desktop 10
computer consumes more power than the laptop which is
expected as we have connected CRT monitor with the 0 5 10 15 20
Hours of day
desktop computer.
Fig. 4: Power profile of (a) desktop computer with monitor,
The percentage average energy usage for different loads and (b) T440p laptop on a typical day.
plugged in the device is presented in Fig. 5. The energy usage
is computed over the average of data in two weeks trial. It
can be observed that the major chunk of the energy is
consumed by the desktop computer, fan and lights which 40
make up about 73% of the total energy consumption in a
typical office setting at the department. The intervention was
%age avg. energy usage

made where we approached all the users and discussed their 30

power usage profile. They were educated to take decisions on
managing their energy usage and were informed about the 25

saving the electricity. Different suggestions like turning off 20

the monitor, fan, lights, and possibly putting the computer on
sleep mode while leaving the office were given to the users. 15
The users were also informed about remotely turning off the 10
connected devices using the website. The field trial was re-
run for another three weeks after intervention and a 5
remarkable reduction in energy usage was observed.
Dsktp Comp. Fan Lights Table lamp Laptop Printer

Fig. 5: Percentage of average energy usage of each equipment

in office.

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This work was supported and funded by Electrical [12] N. K. Suryadevara, S. C. Mukhopadhyay, S. D. T. Kelly,
Engineering Department, University of Engineering and and S. P. S. Gill, “WSN-Based Smart Sensors and Actuator
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