Rainforest Deploys Smart Meter Gateways for Multi-tenant Commercial and Residential Buildings

Real time smart meter data is now available for tenants in high density buildings. Up to ten ZigBee smart meters can be read from a single system.

Rainforest Automation, a developer of energy management products that connect to ZigBee smart meters, announced the availability of its new solution for multi-tenant commercial and residential buildings. The LARC™ Link Aggregation Radio Concentrator is a versatile and cost-effective system that solves the problem of providing real time smart meter data to individual units in high density multi-tenant buildings.

Utilities that have deployed smart meters equipped with ZigBee radios have begun allowing consumers access to their own smart meter data by enabling the meters' Home Area Network (HAN) function. This lets homeowners wirelessly connect ZigBee Smart Energy devices like the EMU-2™ in-home display and the EAGLE™ energy gateway to their smart meters to retrieve their real time data. Unfortunately, this option is not available to many residents of multi-tenant buildings, as the meters for these buildings are often grouped in remote meter closets, well beyond the reach of ZigBee wireless signals.

The LARC™ is designed to be located right in the meter closet, where it connects wirelessly with up to ten smart meters. The data from these meters is then sent over a standard Ethernet network using Internet Protocol. For higher density applications, a standard Ethernet switch can be used to combine several LARC™ units together.

Building managers and developers have a variety of choices in how the meter data is distributed to residents. In-house wiring or WiFi can be used to form a private network, or the LARC™ can be connected directly to the internet. Data from the LARC™ can be directed to any web-based cloud service to provide value-added features such as advanced analytics, disaggregation, energy saving recommendations, gamification, and any number of specific services that require real time energy data.

A number of LARC™ gateways are now installed at a residential complex in San Diego. The smart meter data from the LARC™ is available to residents through the online service provided by Bidgely (http://www.bidgely.com/). The data from the LARC™ is also passed to an EAGLE™ energy gateway in each apartment, which provides standard ZigBee radio service - just like a meter. This means that any standard ZigBee Smart Energy device, such as an in-home display or a smart thermostat, can be used in the unit.

The LARC™ is ideal for mid to high density residential developments, providing a platform to deliver energy monitoring services, which is a potential revenue source for building managers, and an attractive feature for energy conscious buyers. The LARC™ also helps managers of multi-tenant commercial buildings, providing a mechanism to improve energy benchmarking scores that are now mandated in Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC, New York, San Francisco, and Boston.

The LARC™ is available now, directly from Rainforest Automation.

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Categories: Public Works

Tags: energy, han, Home Area Network, monitor, ZigBee


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Bill Richardson
Press Contact, Rainforest Automation