Case Study: Field Evaluation of a Low-Cost Circuit-Level Electrical Submetering System

Willy Bernal Heredia, Dylan Cutler, Jesse Dean

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Circuit-level metering technologies provide the ability to monitor individual circuits within an electrical panel in a building, providing detailed power and energy consumption data at a much more granular level than was previously achievable in a cost-effective manner. While the fundamental hardware components of circuit-level—split-core current transformers (CTs) and power monitoring meters—have existed for some time, the new offerings in the market have tightly integrated these components, lower costs, and have streamlined data organization, transport, and access via software solutions accessible through web and application programming interfaces. NREL evaluated Meazon’s single-circuit metering system. The evaluation of the equipment under test (EUT) focused on three aspects: (1) accuracy of the data provided by the system, (2) ease of installation of this technology and ease of data integration into existing U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) analytics platforms, and (3) total cost of ownership and cost-effectiveness of the technology. The metering technology was tested in a field deployment where it was installed in low and high-voltage commercial electrical panels in the César E. Chávez Memorial Building in Denver, Colorado. The goals were to assess the metering accuracy, the ease of installation and data retrieval, and the total cost of ownership and cost-effectiveness. This technology proved easy to install by a certified electrician who completed the install of 6 meters in 2 separate panels (120/208 V and 277/480 V) and 2 circuit disconnects (along with associated commissioning) at the César E. Chávez Memorial Building in less than one day. The technology was installed in high- and low-voltage panels and with limited space in the electrical room, demonstrating the applicability of this technology to almost all commercial buildings in the GSA portfolio. Primary considerations for this technology include appropriate sizing of CTs for each circuit, selection of loads/circuits/panels that are of high value for detailed submetering (e.g., tailored for high-load devices), and how GSA would like to integrate these data with its existing energy management infrastructure. Through the field evaluation, we demonstrated data integration from the vendor system into the primary software component on the GSA enterprise-level energy management and information system, GSA Link. Data from the circuit-level metering were integrated into this platform and used to perform FDD. This demonstrated the ability of the EUT to augment existing energy management and information systems in buildings where GSA Link is deployed and provides a pathway for delivering FDD at other buildings throughout the portfolio.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages38
StatePublished - 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5500-76892


  • buildings
  • circuit-level metering
  • electrical metering
  • field deployment
  • measurement & verification


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