Power Metering

The IL Centre has advanced power monitoring capabilities. Twenty-three meters collect data from throughout the electrical system and are displayed in real time. This includes the smart lights, a solar array, and individual floors and circuits in a computer lab. Over fifty meters across campus collect data from Queen's buildings, and a solar array.

Extra meters in the IL Centre measure the power consumption of:

  • the building’s lights
  • outlets in working areas
  • the power use at distribution nodes on each of the floors
  • the main power into the IL Centre from Goodwin Hall
  • emergency power from the IL Centre’s generator

Monitoring the power use of different rooms and circuits demonstrates exactly where and when power is being used. Such data can be studied to find where inefficient or unneeded use of power can be reduced or eliminated.

All across campus, building power loads are measured at the incoming power transformers. In the IL Centre, extra metering has been added – 23 meters in total – so that data can be collected separately from studios, laboratories, office spaces, hallways, group rooms and offices.

These power meters do the same thing as traditional household meters, but also include advanced on-board analysis tools and communications capabilities. The live building also monitors and makes available the power data from all of the buildings across campus, for comparison studies, and for facilities-management purposes. Other buildings, however, only have meters on their main power distribution panels.

The technology

Each power meter can measure many different parameters including peak demand, energy, power factor, and three-phase instantaneous current, voltage, and watts. Several of the meters can also measure total harmonic distortion. The campus power network generally uses the following Cutler Hammer power meters: IQ220/300, IQ Analyzer, IQ Energy Sentinel, DP4000.

The meters are connected via a proprietary two-wire network. The language that the meters speak is called “INCOM,” short for INdustrial COMmunications. Communications packets are sent between meters in 33-bit messages across the INCOM network. The protocol is designed to allow cable runs as long as 3,000 meters (10,000 feet); this is long enough that meters from different buildings can be connected on the same physical network.

Physically, the meters are arranged in a “daisy chain” configuration: the cable connects to one meter, and then another run of cable connects that meter to the next meter, and so on. This allows the signal to be “repeated” at every device. Closing the chain is a device called an “Ethernet Master INCOM Network Translator”, or EMINT. This device has an IP address and can be accessed via the Internet. It polls each meter at a rate determined by a remote user such as the Live Building system.


IQ 200 Power Meter