Socket-Level Metering

The Sapient suite is a collection of tools designed to learn and automate. In order to do that, we had to find a way to visualize how power consumption is distributed throughout a facility, and how that distribution changes throughout the day. From there, we could automate practices that would eliminate waste and cut costs.

The Sapient AEMS addresses shortcomings that have been present in energy management systems for a long time. With available solutions, your facility is blindly consuming power as the BMS aggregates electricity usage at the building level, making meaningful analysis and action impossible.

To remedy this problem, the first step in the process was to build a high-fidelity visualization of how energy is used in a facility as it relates to occupants and their behavior, not just the aggregate of the entire building. What makes this possible, and what makes behavioral-waste elimination deliverable, is the Sapient smart outlet.

The Sapient outlet product line consists of both power outlets and power strips and is designed to capture the invisible depth and detail of a living and breathing building. Once the Sapient system is installed, the entire facility is sub-metered down to each and every device. From that point on, at each outlet, our machine learning software suite suddenly sits between your devices and your building’s electrical infrastructure.

Because our smart outlets are uniquely-identified — tagged with the location at which they are installed — each of them can feed information about its plugged-in devices separately and independently. This is what allows our software to distinguish the energy draw from one workstation, one device, one room, or even an entire floor, from that of another.

Using this network of streaming data points, the Sapient machine-learning core builds a model of electricity consumption that represents the total, diversified energy use of your facility.

Each stream of data from every socket in the building is singled out and disaggregated from the others.

The current industry standards for metering are variations on circuit-level, or floor-level monitoring. In these systems, electrical components such as current probes, CT clamps, coil ammeters, or bridges are typically installed around the main conductor serving a region of a building. The specific features of the monitoring mechanisms vary among these devices, but they share some core characteristics. They all operate from inside the building’s walls. As such, they require active construction to install. You wouldn’t want to renovate every time you bring in a new piece of machinery and certainly not to install a new energy management system.

Other products, described as ‘smart meters’, play to our vulnerabilities to buzz words. At first glance, these alternatives would appear to solve the shortcomings mentioned above. Unfortunately, their only differentiating factor is that they communicate with the utility companies, feeding them information about your usage. At every other level, they meter in the same outdated ways. ‘Smart meters’ aggregate usage to the level of the circuit, and are just as analog as the other alternatives.

On the other end of the spectrum, socket-level metering does exist. But it is generally not being used to its full potential. Even when offered, companies claiming visualization at the socket stop there — at visualization. All the data in the world won’t save you money at the end of the month if the insight it provides you with isn’t actionable. In addition, these solutions are often not equipped to be integrated with your current BMS, don’t give you the ability to turn off devices, and are certainly not automatable in their ability to save you money.

These shortcomings showcase what we consider a lack of vision and application in the current industry space. Socket-level metering can be a powerful and insightful tool. We are committed to providing building owners and facilities managers with a cutting-edge solution to making their buildings more efficient.