EcoHomeLab October 2016 – “More EnergyMonitor building and Modelling a MicroGrid”

by Blog

Another busy busy busy EcoHomeLab.

Many things happened this time: not only we had to carry on working on the HomeEnergyMonitors that some people started building in September's session, there was also some troubleshooting needed, a video recording and a presentation about modeling generation, storage and demand respond.

Energy monitors

So Shahzad carried on building his monitor, he did good progress.


I was with John who was starting his one but because he couldn't come in September he missed the intro about what he had to do. So there I sit with him and had good fun going through the basics of power and energy measuring, checked out the kit and have an overview of what he was going to do. He started with it and went quite far!


Sian was having problems with the WiFi connection of her Pi that, because of a obscure reason, could not upload the data to emonCMS. Well they fixed it.


More fixing: Dom's Pi was able to upload the data to emonCMS but in this case it couldn't store it locally as he wanted to. He and Trystan spent the evening working on it and of course they fixed it.



On a different matter, Matt interviewed many of us about why monitoring energy use in our houses and if we can think on a way in which we could put the data together to make the most of it. The reason for the video is that CarbonCoop is applying for a grant to take to a next stage the Community Smart Grid Test dashboard developed by Trystan (OpenEnergyMonitor) and Dominic McCann (CarCoop member and very active prosumer).


Ben's dissertation

And finally Ben Aylott, colleague from CarbonCoop, presented the findings of his masters dissertation on Techno-economic evaluation of distributed generation within a community smart grid with demand side response, easy to say…

So the setup is: distributed generation of renewable energy and consumption within a 'virtual micro grid'. Then with the idea of looking into economical and environmental performance he defined several configurations including different energy sources, demand response, use of specific technologies like heat pumps or electrical vehicles and batteries. Finally all of that was simulated using a software called HOMER.

His conclusions:

  • For better environmental and economical performance first thing to do is increasing renewable generation. Carbon emissions were minimized for around 3.5kW of PV per household.

  • Batteries could have a big impact but that would require a big investment. They can mostly help to maximize self consumption in the house.

  • Heat pumps and electric vehicles didn't do very well because only PV panels were taken into account in the model. The reason for that is the lack of matching between generation and consumption.

  • And finally the carbon savings due to demand side response were significant but not comparable to what can be done with more renewable generation.

Everything very interesting and informative.

Ben also focused in batteries, a bit of history, how (thanks to LiIon batteries) they have become so popular nowadays, the importance of not looking just at capacity but also at how fast they can be charged/discharged, and more…

And good news for all, CarbonCoop is preparing some fact sheets with key information about batteries that will be for sure of very good help.

And here is Ben,


The end

And to finish a leave with some extra pictures of the session.

I'll see you in next EcoHomeLab at Madlab at 17:15 on Thursday the 10th of November. Meetup page here.

If you are planning to come and it's your first time and want to build an EnergyMonitor get in contact (carlos at carbon dot coop) and I can tell you about what you would get and costs of the kit.