The Design of a Hardware-software Platform for Long-term Energy Eco-feedback Research

Abstract

Researchers often face engineering problems, such as optimizing prototype costs and ensuring easy access to the collected data, which are not directly related to the research problems being studied. This is especially true when dealing with long-term studies in real world scenarios. This paper describes the engineering perspective of the design, development and deployment of a long-term real word study on energy eco-feedback, where a non-intrusive home energy monitor was deployed in 30 houses for 18 months. Here we report on the efforts required to implement a cost-effective non-intrusive energy monitor and, in particular, the construction of a local network to allow remote access to multiple monitors and the creation of a RESTful web-service to enable the integration of these monitors with social media and mobile software applications. We conclude with initial results from a few eco-feedback studies that were performed using this platform.