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Measurement Challenges in Achieving Energy Monitoring Systems in Buildings



William M. Healy


The benefits of energy conserving approaches in buildings are often not apparent to building occupants because of the insufficient feedback provided regarding energy consumption. A review of the literature suggests that energy feedback devices can provide real energy savings by motivating building occupants to modify behavior. While the level of savings varies, typical energy reductions on the order of 10 % can be expected. Recent interest in this area has resulted in the emergence of many products that aim to provide this feedback; many of those products and their features have been identified. More sophisticated methods of providing feedback that attempt to disaggregate total energy use by end use through analysis of the main energy signal at the electric or gas meter have been developed over the last two decades. These techniques can provide a relatively accurate means to identify end uses non-intrusively, but the hardware and software have yet to reach a price point that would lead one to believe that widespread adoption is forthcoming. Despite these developments, key challenges remain to decrease the cost of these systems, to make them easier to install, and to provide a flexible platform that enables a wide range of quantities of interest to be measured and reported.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1656
Report Number


Energy monitoring, building technologies, sensors


Healy, W. (2010), Measurement Challenges in Achieving Energy Monitoring Systems in Buildings, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 15, 2024)
Created March 3, 2010, Updated February 19, 2017