Residential Building Stock Assessment Metering (RBSAM)

Client: Northwest Energy Efficienty Alliance
Completion: December 2014

RBSA Metering was a whole-house metering study covering most energy end uses in 104 homes in the Pacific Northwest. Its goals were expansive:
 update a swath of load shapes for the first time in twenty-five years,
 assess the major determinants of residential energy use, and
 identify opportunities for energy savings for programs across the region.

What We Did and How

For the project, Ecotope designed and deployed a custom, state-of-the-art, measurement platform.  The platform relied on recent advances in metering technology and a significant amount of research and development.  The metering devices for all end uses, except lighting, were networked together and submitted data daily to Ecotope’s servers.   The platform directly measured individual loads at the electrical panel and throughout the house, was fully secure, and provided remote status monitoring and data retrieval.  Spread over several thousand square miles, every site transmitted data wirelessly via cellular data connections.  The remote monitoring allowed Ecotope to assess the validity and reliability of the data in near-real time which assured the highest levels of data quality.

The Results

The project laid the foundation for updating the Northwest’s approach to subjects including load forecasting, wind integration, capacity planning, demand response, the smart grid, and energy efficiency.  All these topics benefit from, if not require the direct time-of-use measurements of energy that this project delivered.  The results will guide future energy planning efforts and provide a solid base for assessing energy savings in residential programs throughout the Northwest.

The project delivered a comprehensive report and dataset on residential energy use.  The dataset is a rich trove of energy and energy-related measurements at over 100 houses spanning more than two years.  Aggregated at fifteen-minute intervals, the data not only show total energy use but the time the use occurred for all the devices monitored.  Given the breadth and depth of the dataset, the analytical possibilities are nearly boundless and provide material for long-term future investigations.