Remotely Monitoring Energy Consumption

dataTaker DT82I Simplifies Industrial Energy Audit

monitoring energy consumptionTo find the best way to reduce energy costs, an industrial company contacted CAS DataLoggers for an electric energy monitoring system. Two separate buildings, a manufacturing plant, and an office building, situated approximately 500 ft. apart needed to start monitoring energy consumption. The electric bill did not have enough detail for the customer to fully understand their energy use or to decide useful corrective actions. Rather, they needed to monitor specific circuits and their usage over time. For example, energy cost reductions can often be achieved by simply changing the time usage patterns of equipment to reduce peak loads and subsequent surcharges.

Energy Data Collection

Industrial energy audits can be more useful if conducted over a long enough period of time to average out temporary fluctuations, so the customer decided to use an energy consumption monitoring period of one month. First, the customer chose the largest energy-consuming pieces of equipment inside the manufacturing plant to monitor, which in this case were several large three-phase AC motors on an air compressor and other manufacturing equipment.

For this purpose, CAS provided a dataTaker DT82I industrial data logger. It offers up to 10 million points of internal data storage, which is plenty of space for this one-month data logging period. Using the dEX software provided with the data logger, a program was easily created to record the critical data every 15 minutes. A simple dashboard view provided real-time data via meters and trend charts to allow interactive monitoring

In the case of the office building, the main electrical power consumption was by the HVAC system, so the customer installed a second DT82I data logger to record its energy consumption near the electrical panel feeding this system.

Voltage and Current Measurement

To measure the current and voltage on the manufacturing plant’s 3-phase motors, CAS supplied Wattnode WND-WR-MB wide range energy meters together with 200 amp split-core current transformers. The same setup is being used for the HVAC system except that 100 amp current transformers were substituted because of the lower current draw of this system.

The WND is connected to the data logger via the RS-485 serial interface of the DT82I and it utilizes the Modbus RTU communication protocol to allow precise measurements including voltage, current, power, energy, and power factor. Multiple Wattnode devices can be connected to a single data logger over the RS-485 bus allowing several pieces of equipment to be simultaneously monitored with a single data logger.
monitoring energy consumption

Office Temperature and Humidity Measurement

To properly evaluate the HVAC system efficiency, it was also necessary to precisely measure the temperature and humidity variations in different locations of the buildings during the day. To eliminate the need to run cables to these various locations, Novus RHT-Air Wireless Temperature and Humidity Transmitters were positioned at the key locations throughout the office space. These devices send the data to a Novus AirGate Modbus Wireless Gateway located near the data logger. Temperature and humidity data is easily read using the same Modbus RS-485 interface of the data logger.

Automatic Data Transmission

The customer wanted to automate the data collection so they would not have to manually retrieve stored data from the loggers. The dataTaker loggers can send data via FTP or e-mail using their standard Ethernet interface which makes them ideal for remote data transmission. A schedule in the logger runs once a day to upload the last 24 hours’ worth of data via an email attachment to the facilities manager. This file can be easily opened in Microsoft Excel for further analysis. This is particularly useful when evaluating energy audit results to find opportunities for cost savings.

Energy Audit Benefits

The dataTaker DT82I’s are well-suited to this application, being compact, quick to deploy, and cost-effective for monitoring the energy consumption of all the values required. Remote connection and management simplify monitoring and data collection from the two buildings. The data loggers also operate standalone and automatically transmit their data without anyone having to travel out to the devices to collect data.

At the end of the energy audit period, the company had relevant information about its energy consumption. According to the collected data, they’ve decided to make some changes to their manufacturing system to obtain the best time pattern for electric energy usage. Consequently, this is projected to result in a significant reduction of their total energy costs.

For more information on dataTaker data loggers, energy audit monitoring solutions, or to find the ideal solution for your application-specific needs, contact a CAS DataLogger Application Specialist at (800) 956-4437 or request more information.