Green Meters and Carbon Footprints

After a time of absence, "Dave's Notes" is back by request - I believe my mother was the individual who called in after she ran out of reading material in the bathroom. Anyhow, with the changes going on in the energy industry, it's probably a good time to discuss some of the developments and things, that are going on in Meter Land.

Green has become the new international color and everyone is making mention of global warming and the environment. In the media, there is quite often a mention of the mysterious "carbon footprint." But, don't run out in your yard and attempt to find yours; it doesn't come from a shoe.

Most forms of energy leave behind a by-product called CO2 (Carbon Dioxide), which isn't a good thing. CO2 is one of the items creating the much talked about global warming effect. The burning of wood, coal, oil and other gas creates CO2. The most commonly discussed source of CO2 is the exhaust from the daily use of cars, buses and trucks. But, this ain't the only place the stuff is coming from. Most people don't think about the other big source-electricity.

But, you say, electricity is clean - there's no smoke coming out of my lights, my TV or my appliances. Except for the occasional dinner left in too long, this observation is true. However, you really have to go to the electrical supply source to see where the CO2 is coming from.

The majority of the electrical power generated today comes from fossil fuel burning generators. You remember - gas, oil, coal, wood. These are all responsible for the emission of CO2, with the amount produced based on the particular type of fuel used. Of course, solar, hydro and wind generated power is clean and doesn't "spit out" the CO2 like the fossil fuel plants do.

The Department of Energy (DOE) provides data on emissions and they give us the scoop on CO2 produced during the generation of electricity. From this data we see that the average CO2 emission in the United States amounts to 1.37 pounds for every kilowatt-hour produced. Folks, this average includes all forms of generation-from nuclear to coal fired plants. To put this in an easy to understand example; using ten 100 watt electric lights for one hour will cause 1.37 pounds of CO2 to be ejected into the atmosphere. So, you'll have to run to your favorite generating plant to see this carbon footprint.

So, what does green have to do with metering? I'm glad you asked-thank you. E-mon introduced the Green Class Meter in 2008 in order to provide consumers with an easy way to see their carbon footprint. The Green Class Meter comes in sizes ranging from 100 to 3200 amp and covers either 120/208 or 277/480 volt applications. Installation is the same quick and easy method you're used to with all the other E-Mon meters, utilizing split-core current sensors.

The important thing with the Green Class meters is that they raise awareness of both your electrical consumption and your carbon footprint. To show all of this important stuff to the user, the meter display rolls over to show kilowatt hours used, real time kilowatt load, the estimated total amount of CO3 generated to provide your electricity and the projected hourly CO2 emissions based on your actual load. Additionally, the meter allows the user - that's you, Bunky - to enter a kilowatt-hour cost based on the actual load. What's cool about this is that you can now see the effects of turning appliances off and on both in cost and your carbon footprint. A new awareness tool is now available in the battle against global warming-which would probably prevent New Jersey from sinking from the melting ice caps and giving us folks in Pennsylvania beach-front property. Darn!

For those facilities that have internal generation capabilities, from solar or wind power, there is also a Green Class Net Meter available. This enhanced meter will monitor both the power delivered from the energy supplier and the power that is sent from the facility into the service grid. The meter will give you the info needed for utility programs that provide either energy cost rebates or a direct purchase option of the facility's generation capability. the Green Class Net meter also stores interval data that can be used to graph the load profiles and account for both the exported and utility delivered power.

In addition to the Green class Meter, E-Mon Energy software now has the ability to graph CO2 emissions in parallel to the kW features. The data is also shown in tabular format where the peak CO2 load and the total CO2 emissions are displayed. This feature works with all of E-Mon's meter lines and adds the ability to see the carbon footprint of the meters being read with the AMR system. All this from the comfort of your own computer - you don't have to go down and look at the utility's smoke stacks.

So, there you have a quick peek at E-Mon's recent effort to bring awareness to the consumer's carbon footprint and a cool tool to help in the effort to reduce the size of that footprint. Anyhow, get one of these meters because it's a real pretty green.

~ Dave

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