Energy – Understanding Its Units, Measurements and Smart Meters

Energy plays an important role in our daily lives, without which our lives may come to a halt. Moreover, smart meters can help you monitor and control your energy consumption to ensure you save money and time. But despite this, very few of us know and understand how energy is measured. So if you are curious about it and want a better understanding of energy usage, continue reading. But before that, let’s find out how energy is measured.

How is energy measured?

There are various units used when it comes to energy. Watts (w), Kilowatt-hours (kWh) and kilowatts (kW) are used to measure both gas and electricity. Watts and kilowatts measure the electricity volume, meaning how much electricity is needed. Consumers come more in contact with kilowatt-hour. This unit measures the amount of energy used over a specific period, measured through a meter.

So the energy taken from the grid is measured in watts and kilowatts, while the amount of energy taken over some time is measured in kilowatt-hour. For instance, if you have a 100-watt desktop computer at home, it will take approximately 10 hours to attain 1kWh of energy usage.

How will this help you understand your energy bill?

Once you know and understand the units used to measure energy, you can use it to work out how much energy is being used by your appliance and how much is it costing you. You can use an equation to calculate how much it will cost you to power that particular appliance.

Power (kW) x Time (hours) = Energy Transferred (kWh)

To use this equation, you need to know the amount of energy the appliance takes. So if your desktop computer uses 100w or 0.1kWh and you operate it for 1 hour in a day, you will need multiple power with time:

0.1 (kW) x 1(hour) = 0.1 (kWh)

So then, to find out how much it is costing you daily, you will multiply energy transferred in kWh with your unit rate. If the average unit rate is 17.2p/kWh, then:

0.1 (kWh) x  17.2(p) = 1.72 (p)

So it will cost you 1.72 p for running your computer on full load for one hour.

How to make the measurement of energy easier?

If you find measuring energy complex and difficult, you can use smart meters. They make life easier by removing manual readings from the equation and allow you to better understand and control your energy usage, especially if you have complex energy needs and usage like in a business.

These meters will tell you the energy in kWh you are using monthly. This will not only help you monitor your energy consumption but also ensure you are using business energy efficiently. But like everything else, there are many misunderstandings behind smart meters that have people being wary of these devices. So here are some confusion that people have in their minds.

1) Smart meters have a negligible reduction in energy consumption.

After installing a smart meter, the energy consumption will vary considerably. Some people will not lower their energy consumption, while some may make considerable reductions in their energy usage by using the information provided by their smart meter. So the smart meters do not reduce energy usage.

Instead, it’s up to you to use the data provided by the smart meters to ensure you are using energy efficiently and save your money and time. Smart meters help consumers understand how they are consuming energy. Using the information provided by your smart meter, you gain insight into your energy consumption and thus make better energy strategies and efficient improvements.

2) Smart meters do not work when you switch suppliers

The fact that there were some problems with older smart meters when it came to switching suppliers is true. But that problem is being fixed by a data communications company. So you will not have to reinstall smart meters when switching suppliers.  Moreover, you will also be getting a digital update.

3) Suppliers extort consumers in purchasing smart meters to receive cheaper energy tariffs.

Smart meters are not being used like this. Instead, energy suppliers use smart meters to get accurate real-time information that helps in reducing costs.  Installing smart meters will benefit you and help you understand energy usage much easier. Sixty percent of an energy bill constitutes non-energy costs. So smart meters help suppliers lower these costs by allowing ease in balancing supply and demand of energy.

How to reduce energy costs and engage your workforce?

You alone cannot work to manage and control energy efficiently. This is why you need to engage your employees with smart meters to create awareness regarding smart meters and efficient energy management and ensure energy is being consumed efficiently. This will help you to reduce costs. So how can you do it?

1)   Make an in charge for the management of energy usage

If there is someone in your staff who deals with your business’s facilities problems, then they need to know about smart meters. But if there is no one to see to this, then it’s best to appoint someone for the job. Many companies now have energy managers who are responsible for the important aspects of energy monitoring and control.

2)   Encourage social responsibility

It is essential to inculcate social responsibility programs in your business to benefit from them. Various reports suggest that employees work best and are more productive in organizations that are committed to social responsibilities that are in line with employees’ views. So regarding smart meters, you can create awareness regarding sustainability and efficient use of energy.

3)   Use visual aids of energy consumption.

With the help of visual aids, you can better communicate and spread awareness regarding smart meters and the importance of efficient energy consumption. For instance, you can use visual barometers or images to indicate low energy usage or high energy usage. This will have a big impact on your workforce and thus allow you to engage your staff in improving energy usage.

In conclusion

Energy is an important part of our lives. It not only powers our daily life but also moves it forwards. So it is important to understand how it’s measured and how to better control it. To save your money and time, you need to install smart meters to gain better insights into how you consume energy and thus make better strategies and improvements to using energy efficiently.

Huynh Nguyen

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