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Author Topic: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...  (Read 28194 times)

Offline guessed

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Between the A/C, Electric Oven, Induction cook-top and Electric  Vehicle Charger, I'm already exceeding my paltry 100A supply (on paper from the circuit max totals), however I really would need to turn everything on simultaneously (and on max) for this to occur I guess, also luckily my Nissan leaf is one of the older ones that is current limited to about 15A amps anyway, so despite the 40A circuit, risk is low currently.
Yikes, I was feeling the crimp with a 200A Panel, at least by their Load Calculations, for adding stuff.   It's interesting to see how they run those numbers, especially when you compare it against the real #'s you have... but it's more about what the House is capable of, instead of what you're [currently] doing with the house I suppose.

I went off on a tangent, but anyway yes @guessed I can give you some good pointers to specifying a system, and how to estimate how many panels you need in relation to your usage, and the direction and angle of your roof. Probably best to chat on the phone, or I'll catch up with you next time I'm either up there, or if you are down here next.
Will definitely catch up with you on this one.  Tons of options out there, but it's always easier to follow the path well trodden ;)   I'd image that you're loads will match mine fairly well.

For now, I've just moved all my measurement stuff over to SEG.  It'll give me a better way to "see" what's going on, as well as hopefully adding some stability to Vera.

Offline strangely

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the real #'s you have... but it's more about what the House is capable of, instead of what you're [currently] doing with the house I suppose.

Yep, I'm due a load center upgrade at some point very soon, and since I need to also get permits etc for the other loads in the kitchen and the car I fitted, it has to start with the panel :)

Quote
For now, I've just moved all my measurement stuff over to SEG.  It'll give me a better way to "see" what's going on, as well as hopefully adding some stability to Vera.
Did you manage to get it logging in Vera and SEG? I could never get mine setup with SEG and I guess I need a second WIZnet or similar to do it. This is something I want to revisit.
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Offline guessed

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Yup.  I was going to poke my temperature data through as well.  I have a Garage Temperature sensor hanging off my GEM, so that data flowed automatically, but I'm interested to see the correlation between temperature (Upstairs, Downstairs, Outside, Garage) and energy use.

eg. driving a car into the garage quickly raises it's temp by 3-4F, how does that impact the house?

Offline akbooer

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eg. driving a car into the garage quickly raises it's temp by 3-4F, how does that impact the house?

Well, I suppose that depends how quickly you drive it into the garage.  I mean, very quickly and the would be a big fireball and that would certainly do it...

...oh, sorry, I see... How quickly it raises the temperature, not how quickly you drive the car.

Funny old language.
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Offline guessed

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Well, I suppose that depends how quickly you drive it into the garage.  I mean, very quickly and the would be a big fireball and that would certainly do it...

...oh, sorry, I see... How quickly it raises the temperature, not how quickly you drive the car.

Funny old language.
LOL.

Reminds me of a team I used to work in.  The manager (jokingly) indicated to one of the lads from the team that he'd find a pink slip in the top drawer. 

1/2 the team took it one way, and the other 1/2 took it another way 8)

Offline wilme2

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weekday usage to is ~11kW/day.

Wow, checking Bidgely, mine is about ~28 KwH/day...  And I am doing all I can think of to limit.  Other than running my WMC DVR 24x7 - too many stability issues with sleep and there is a large WAF on a DVR.    And my pet lizards have lights on 24x7 as well, but with their new cages I have cut that usage down to 1/3 of what they previously needed....

But beyond that I am not sure where to turn...  Time to get out my Kill-a-Watt and start looking for unexpected issues!  Course I have two AC units and 2 hot water heaters - for no good reason really.  I plan to disable one of the hot water heaters as it feeds a single, rarely used, bathroom sink...
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Offline guessed

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Well, that's on a normal day.  Of course, the day I posted that we had a high of 90F, and I ran the AC all day... which topped me out at 28kW also ;)

Looks like we have a 1wk long cycle of 90+ starting next week, so that'll be interesting.

Course I have two AC units and 2 hot water heaters - for no good reason really.  I plan to disable one of the hot water heaters as it feeds a single, rarely used, bathroom sink...
Yikes, that's a lot bigger set of loads to tune.  I'd love to see this type of exercise run against a bigger place, since I'd imagine there's a lot more loads to work on, and things running out-of-mind, out-of-sight.

I keep finding myself asking "what's causing that?", even when the #'s are tiny.

But beyond that I am not sure where to turn...  Time to get out my Kill-a-Watt and start looking for unexpected issues!
It's quite interesting once you start getting the automated feeds.  You see all sorts of stuff you never expected (but then later find explanations for online)

Some interesting recent examples:
a) Defrost cycles in the Fridge-Freezer unit (100W becomes 200W) for a total of ~1.2kW/day
b) 50%+ duty cycle for the Fridge-Freezer unit (when the house is only 70F) switching several times/hour
c) The Dishwasher only consumes ~1kW/run, but takes 1 hour to fully cycle
d) My AV stack chews 0.75-0.85kWh, and the variability comes almost completely from the TV
e) My Espresso Machine burns ~0.5kW to get ready (drink more coffee, watch less TV)
f) My Mac Mini consumes 20W, and the monitor adds 30W. The Mac cranks to 60W during Video encoding ;)
g) My idle HP AIO Printer, and external/powered Mac Speakers, combined were using more power than my Mac

Of course, these figures that are all dwarf'd once I turn on the AC   8)


Love to hear what you find with your Kill-a-Watt unit.

Offline akbooer

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Have you thought of adding some measure of energy usage for your vehicles?  These probably dwarf your home's usage, and would be a challenge to measure directly.  As a proxy you could use fuel consumption, but it would be great to automate this, and later integrate it into electricity usage in the home as you switch to all-electric or plugin hybrid vehicles.

Anyway, lucky you being able to power your AC by PV... not such a happy combination of weather and energy needs here, as the heat pump is working hardest when the sun is not shining.
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Offline guessed

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Have you thought of adding some measure of energy usage for your vehicles?  These probably dwarf your home's usage, and would be a challenge to measure directly.  As a proxy you could use fuel consumption, but it would be great to automate this, and later integrate it into electricity usage in the home as you switch to all-electric or plugin hybrid vehicles.
My main driver was to measure things that I could offset (eg. with Solar) or things that indicate a problem (Water, Gas).

Next are Water/Gas measurement and overall alerting to any significant deviations from the norm.  I'm pushing this all into SEG, so I'll write something to get back the critical bits and put them into Vera for alerting (through Prowl)

I could use the OBD port of the car to measure fuel economy, which I hadn't considered, but making savings there means I'll have to drive better 8)


I'd considered using a WiFi-based OBD port adapter for presence at one point, but gave up on it due to complexity.  If you wanted to do it for energy the devices are readily available, but any data collection would require something permanently in the car.   

Anyhow, I worked out a simpler/more secure way to presence so I abandoned the OBD-based option.


Anyway, lucky you being able to power your AC by PV... not such a happy combination of weather and energy needs here, as the heat pump is working hardest when the sun is not shining.
Ouch.  I'm very interested to hear how you manage/control/integrate this.

I've only lived in countries/locations where Solar is the default option (either PV or Thermal), and Gas has been plentiful (for heating), although we had oil-fired heaters when I was growing up.  In summer, we'd just open windows and play in the pool to cool down  ;)

Offline akbooer

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Anyway, lucky you being able to power your AC by PV... not such a happy combination of weather and energy needs here, as the heat pump is working hardest when the sun is not shining.
Ouch.  I'm very interested to hear how you manage/control/integrate this.

I've only lived in countries/locations where Solar is the default option (either PV or Thermal), and Gas has been plentiful (for heating), although we had oil-fired heaters when I was growing up.  In summer, we'd just open windows and play in the pool to cool down  ;)

We're in rural UK, no piped gas available.  Anyway, I'm trying to keep our carbon footprint as low as possible.  We used to burn oil, but several years ago installed a  heatpump and that is now our only source of heating and hot water (apart from a decorative wood burning stove.)  Installed PV two months ago (a bit of a challenge since this is a listed building in a conservation area.)  It's actually a whole new roof with the old tiles removed and solar 'slates' replacing them.  Looks very discrete for PV.

The house is over 175 years old (new for the area: the house next door is over 800 years.) Solid stone walls - so heat loss is a nightmare.  However, doing the best we can, the heatpump, with underfloor heating, runs completely autonomously - I wouldn't dream of automating (further) its controls.  I've convinced myself of the quality of its control algorithms though correlating energy usage with a calculation of 'heating degree days' and get a correlation coefficient of 0.98.  About the best you can have.

So really, it's all just about monitoring, and modelling the thermal properties of the house.  I need something like your Brultech, because with only an import meter and a generation meter (both logged with NorthQ into Vera and DataYours), and no export meter, I can't now tell how much I'm really using.  The old clamp-on sensor can't tell which way the power is going! Someone mentioned that they do a 50Hz version?
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Offline guessed

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I believe the Brultech GEM has European support as well.  It has a configurable 50/60Hz setting, but you'd also need plug-packs to match (mine are 110v).

Probably best to reach out on Ben on their forums (http://brultech.com/community) and ask more specifically, since it's not clear how you'd order one with the right Plugpacks (although it looks like the user @vespaman, on their forums, has one).   ... and yes, they can tell you which way the current is flowing ;)


Interesting info on the HP.  I have in-laws in Ireland, and I've always wondered what their options were, they currently use gas tanks for heating, and have a pellet stove as well.

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Someone mentioned that they do a 50Hz version?

Well, I have the GEM & Dashbox combo, living in Sweden (230V/3phase/50Hz), so you are good with the standard stuff, as long has you let them know where you are from (it is the same hardware except the voltage transformer). You may have to use adaptors or source the power supply locally.

I'm missing 24h clock and I am getting $ signs instead of local currency, but apart from this, all is well.


Offline akbooer

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Thanks for the information!
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Offline guessed

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Yup.  I was going to poke my temperature data through as well.  I have a Garage Temperature sensor hanging off my GEM, so that data flowed automatically, but I'm interested to see the correlation between temperature (Upstairs, Downstairs, Outside, Garage) and energy use.

eg. driving a car into the garage quickly raises it's temp by 3-4F, how does that impact the house?

And here's what that looks like, using the last 3-days of data.  I definitely think the Garage is heating the house at night, or at least slowly the rate of cooling (esp since I have the windows open)... 

Time to work out how to vent that space effectively.

Offline gregl

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I could use the OBD port of the car to measure fuel economy, which I hadn't considered, but making savings there means I'll have to drive better 8)


HI Guessed. Great thread ...thanks for sharing and introducing me to SmartEnergyGroups!
There is another way you could improve your fuel economy, perhaps without changing your driving style ;-)
http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/videos/dimpled-car-minimyth.htm