Meter Types and Characteristics

This section aims to give a more detailed overview of the different meters available in the market, by resource metered and type of metering technology. If you are interested in finding a specific supplier for your project, please have a look at the List of Metering Suppliers.

 

Electricity

Electricity meters are generally of two types: pass-through or based on current transformers, the latter of which can be easily retrofit to existing buildings and circuits, and easily moved from one location to another.

ExampleTypeDescriptionCost range
electricity electromech meterElectromechnical (fixed)Traditional electricity meter that is based on electromechanical measurement of electricity. Typically has a rotating disc and mechanical display. Can be retrofit to obtain AMR capabilities by means of a camera module (to read digits) or a magnetic sensor that counts rotations of the discUp to several hundred GBP (UK) - not typically retrofittable by user but property of energy supplier
electricity digital meterDigital (fixed)Similar to electromechnical meter, but reading is shown via a digital display. Often these meters also have a "pulsed output", typically in the form of an LED which emits a short burst of light (blink) for every unit of consumption, e.g. 1 Wh. This can more easily be captured by retrofit sensors to enable AMR. Up to several hundred GBP (UK) - not typically retrofittable by user but property of energy supplier
electricity smart meterSmart meter (fixed)Utility grade mains electricity meter that disposes of AMR capabilities. Depending on the type and standard, the meter can have certain smart features, such as tariff switching. Some meters have local ports which allow the user to connect third party equipment (e.g. to remotely read readings and transfer them to an in home display or software). GBP 150-300 (UK)
electricity ct clampCT clamp with AMR capability (flexible)CT clamps are simple ferrit cores that are clipped or clamped around an electric supply cable. They are non intrusive so no qualified electrician is required to do the work. For CT based meters to produce an accurate consumption reading, they need to capture voltage seperately (this can be done via the power plug if the meter is mains powered). Readings will be off otherwise in the case of "voltage shaping" electricity consumers (such as washing machines, TV screens etc)GBP 50-150 (UK)

 

Gas / Steam / Heat

These meters are based on the metering of flows of different mediums, e.g. gas, steam or water. Flow (volume / time) can be measured in a variety of ways. While the measuring technology – e.g. diaphragm vs. multi-jet – itself doesn’t determine whether a meter is smart or not, smart gas meters for residential and commercial real estate applications are often based on ultrasound technology.

ExampleTypeDescriptionCost range
gas diaphragm meterTraditional diaphragm meter (fixed)Traditional gas meter that is based on movable diaphragms for the measurement of gas flows (volume). Typically has a rotating crank shaft and mechanical display. Can be retrofit to obtain AMR capabilities by means of a camera module (to read digits).Up to several hundred GBP (UK) - not typically retrofittable by user but property of energy supplier
gas smart meterSmart meter (fixed and retrofittable)Smart meters for gas can be based on a number of different flow measurement technologies, including diaphragm, multi-jet, turbine (for industrial applications) and ultrasound.
Retrofit smart gas meters are typically based on ultrasound technology as it is non intrusive and hence doesn't require the gas pipe to be cut to install the meter.
Up to several hundred GBP (UK) - not typically retrofittable by user but property of energy supplier
steam meterSteam meterSteam meters measure the pressure and temperature of the medium (saturated or superheated steam) across a defined section of a pipe. Technologies include vortex meters, differential pressure meters and turbine meters. Steam is typically meetred in kg or lbs (often Mlbs), and can be converted to Btu
heat meterHeat meterHeat meters are basically flow meters (typically with water as the heat transfer medium) that use the same measurement technology as gas flow meters, e.g. mulit-jet or ultrasound, and in addition measure the temperature difference between the initial and the return flow.Up to several hundred GBP (UK)

 

Water

Water meters are flow meters and share some similarities with gas meters.

ExampleDescription
water meterWater meters are typically based on one of four approaches: displacement meters, velocity meters, electromagnetic meters, ultrasonic meters. These meters can be automatically read through the addition of a retrofit sensor module that tracks rotations in the meter display, and a communications unit that sends data to a server.

 

Environmental metrics

This category contains a very wide and growing range of meters and sensors for measuring different environmental metrics.

ExampleTypeDescriptionCost range
temperature sensorTemperatureElectronic temperature sensors are inexpensive and can be integrated into a variety of devices.From several GBP to tens of GBP
HumidityMeasures the relative humidity in a room, e.g. in a residential setting to prevent mold.
Air qualityCan measure the concentration of different substances in the air, e.g. O2, CO2, NOx etc - for instance used in commercial office o public spaces to monitor air quality.
IlluminanceIlluminance is measure in lux (lumens / m2), and gives an indication of the intensity of illumination on a surface.