The following guest post is written by Sean M. Costello, Mechanical Engineer and Professional Energy Consultant and President of Hawaii Energy Consultants. It was originally titled, "Advantages of eGauge Electrical Submeter, Datalogger, and Webserver" but I shortened it down a bit. Pricing information is included at the end of the post. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
First, a little background. I have been in the energy industry for over 15 years. I have worked on pipelines, powerplants, you name it, but now I do mostly energy consulting and performance contracting. I have worked with over 40 different energy management systems, and rarely was ever very impressed with either the hardware or software components, let alone the cost of such equipment.
Secondly, Let me first make a disclaimer : I am a distributor of the egauge exclusively in Hawaii, and non-exclusively nationally for select accounts. That may make me somewhat biased, but when a veteran energy industry professional is sold on a product, I believe that says something all by itself.
Let me tell you how I decided on egauge. I used to be a distributor for several watt-hour meters I am sure everyone has heard of. I disliked them due to the difficulty of installation, cumbersome aspects of installation, lack of internet interoperability even well into 2008 after the internet explosion, et cetera, et cetera. I then found the EIG shark meters with wi-fi capability, but the cost of installing these was more than most people were willing to swallow. At $1k-2k we could also only meter 1 x 3 phase piece of equipment or just a whole house. I tried out several TED5000’s for smaller installations, but the TED5000 is lacking in many areas. Poor interface, lack of processing speed, spotty internet connection or interoperability, unreliable, poor data storage, relies too heavily on google power meter, et cetera, et cetera. After experiencing a 100% failure rate with the Ted5000 I started looking for another solution.
Luckily, I found the best available today. The egauge is the first device I have found that answers every need, and at an attractive price point. I can monitor whole distribution panels as well as break out 3 to 7 other loads with only 1-2 devices and 24 CTs. The processor in the egauge is at or over 1 GHz (snapdragon processor, same as my Droid and HTC Evo4g) providing plenty of speed and capability for monitoring energy consumption in real-time. The egauge monitors at the 1-min interval level leaving 15-min interval data devices in the dust. Simply put – I have yet to find something better, and if someone does think they have something better please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will gladly look at switching. I am technology and device agnostic in that I am constantly trying to find the best value for my customers. Personally, I have looked at and evaluated about a dozen devices since finding egauge, and for the money, I have yet to find something even close to egauge.
So, I will go on to describe the device now :
The egauge (www.egauge.net) is a very robust, simple, cost-effective solution for electrical sub-metering, datalogging, and webserving. It can perform all of the functions that only a few of the higher end utility watt-hour meters at a fraction of the price. With 12 current transducer (CT) inputs it offers excellent flexibility for metering and monitoring 12 individual circuits which can be paired up for measuring 3 x 4 wire combinations (3phase +neutral), 4 x 3 phase pieces of equipment, 6 x 240 volt pieces of equipment, or simply 12 individual wires.
The egauge also has 12 programmable registers for datalogging of any combination of the following : voltage across any phase up to 3 phases (relative to neutral), wye and delta voltage configurations, up to 277 volts per phase, potential transformer (PT) programming for voltages over 277, datalogging of voltage, frequency, apparent power (which one can use to calculate power factor), current, and any combination of CTs.
If more than 12 circuits need monitoring the egauge can also be “teamed” with another egauge or other egauges to conglomerate more circuit sub-metering. This works very well in condo sub-metering and can typically get the per unit sub-metering cost down to as low as around $300 per unit depending on installation and networking costs.
The egauge transmits data via Ethernet of powerline (EOP or POE) to a homeplug 1.0 adapter which can then plug into a router allowing local area network access or internet access. Examples of this can be seen at www.egauge.net/devices by clicking on any of the device links on that page.
The warranty on the device is second to none in the industry at 5 years, and is the only electrical submeter I have found that the supplier can prove lasts more than 3 years even in harsh environments.
The egauge works well anywhere from residential applications to large industrial applications. It also can provide monitoring of PV systems while simultaneously providing building load data.
This is an example of a 260 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system on top of a commercial building.
The applications in energy savings performance contracting are extensive. See http://egauge803.d.egauge.net for a lighting savings performance contract we did this year. If you click on the 6-month range you can see that the customer was previously using about $10k per month for one of their buildings. Since they only had 1 main utility meter, they had no idea that this one building out of 15 was 20% of the their total consumption. With just two egauges we were able to identify the building that was the largest load outside of the chiller plant and identify a lighting retrofit that was extremely cost-effective. We took 1000 x 75 watt incandescent MR16’s and replaced them with 1000 x 9 watt LED MR16 lamps. The customer is now saving over $4k per month NET of performance contract costs.
These case studies can go on and on, and they were made possible by the egauge electrical sub-meter. I challenge everyone out there to try out this device. I am 100% certain you will be happy you did. If you have any questions about the device feel free to visit the website at www.egauge.net
Pricing Information (from Sean):
NO MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION FEES - data hosted indefinitely for free - also, you can point the egauge to any server you want and host your own egauge by yourself - device is open source code
Main unit that you can't do without plus homeplug adapter (the egauge box plus communication) - $700 (quantity 1 price)
CTs in low quantity depend on the size of the CT - I only use split-core CTs, but solid cores can be used if that extra 0-1% of accuracy is really that important to you
They have an online special price for a residential "kit". It's basically just the main unit plus 3 CTs. Discounts for quantity are hit at 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. We are trying to get an exclusive distributor in every state going right now.
I personally also import CTs, and my pricing for individual CTs is below - quantities above 24 or so and price breaks start, nobody has ordered more than 400, but I'm happy to come up with pricing on CTs if that's requested.
0.4" (residential mostly and some small commercial wire, 1 amp to 200 amp) - $30 each
0.75" window (from 50-400 amp, most commonly 100,150 or 200amp) - $40 each
1.25" window - $50
2" window - $60
3"x5" window - $70
6" x 6" window - $100 each
rope CTs - depends, rogowski coils get complicated
or you can go to magnelab and buy the CTs retail as well (www.magnelab.com)
Budgetary numbers for installed cost is $800-1200 for residential (full range of pricing we have ever offered) and $1000-2000 for commercial. Just depends on how many CTs you're using and how difficult the installation is. These numbers on the higher end should be much lower as these are Hawaii prices and everything costs more for us out here on the installation side of things.