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Open Metering for Commercial Buildings (B)

Status: Abgeschlossen


Global warming, lack of fossil fuels and the resulting increase in energy prices induce an urgent need for sustainable buildings. Since electricity is one of the major sources of energy consumed by a building, optimizing electricity consumption based on the actual needs of inhabitants is an effective way towards sustainability.

In this regard, knowing the current electricity consumption as well as the context of the building (i.e. number and location of occupants) is of crucial importance to make electricity consumption more transparent, detect waste, and even perform automated optimization.

Smart meters are sensing devices that can measure electric power consumption of a building at a fine temporal granularity and report the collected readings through a communication interface. Processing of smart meter data further reveals relevant information about buildings like occupancy patterns of people or status of appliances that are currently running.

From the perspective of building managers examples for such applications are:
  • Visualizing current electricity consumption as well as past readings in combination with building occupancy
  • Detecting anomalies in the electricity pattern to detect new sources of energy waste
  • Reduce baseload of a building to save energy when the building is not occupied (e.g., shut down PCs and outsource running processes to the cloud)
  • Predict future electricity consumption based on patterns from the past

However, to unleash the full potential of these applications, computer science research is required to sense, store, aggregate and retrieve massive amounts of sensor data accordingly.


This project is performed in cooperation with the department of Safety, Security, Health and Environment at ETH Zurich. Our goal is to develop a smart sensor framework that integrates sensor data from a newly installed high-end smart meter and other sensors (e.g., PIR sensors) deployed on the CNB H office floor. The sensor framework abstracts from physical data access and provides the basis for advanced services (data analytics) that are used to analyze and optimize electricity consumption of office buildings.

Concrete aspects of the project include:

  1. Smart meter interface: Design and implementation of a software component that retrieves data from the smart meter and makes it accessible to other services through a RESTful interface. This includes definition of the range of features (e.g., “data from the last month in a 1 second granularity”, or “data stream from now on, 10 readings per second”) as well as performance tests as a proof of concept.
  2. Sensor interface: Store and retrieve sensor information from PIR sensors deployed on CNB H office floor. This includes accessing sensor values, storing the data from multiple sensors and offering aggregated information through a service interface to higher layer applications.
  3. Use case - meter data visualization: Employing (1) and (2) this component provides a consumption graph including sensor events, which can be displayed on a tablet PC.
The exact scope of the work packages will be defined based on whether it will be a lab project, bachelor thesis or a master thesis - and on your personal preferences.


This project requires experience in software engineering (Java, C), data management, as well as some expertise in distributed systems and ubiquitous computing. We expect students to be highly motivated to work on this brand new topic and to cooperate with their supervisors regularly to discuss current progress and next steps.


Contact Christian Beckel for more information on this project. If you are interested in energy-related topics in general feel free to contact Christian Beckel or Wilhelm Kleiminger via e-mail or stop by our office.

Student/Bearbeitet von: Andreas Brauchli
Contact/Ansprechpartner: Christian Beckel, Wilhelm Kleiminger

ETH ZurichDistributed Systems Group
Last updated May 2 2013 03:24:58 PM MET cb