Another commercial use of smart meter data I can think of is in the rental websites for apartment and commercial buildings. Almost all house rental web sites provide detail description about house structure, amenities and ease of access to nearby facilities like school, hospital, freeways etc. House description includes floor plan, HVAC availability, thermostat, lighting that help the prospective tenant to choose best house/building space as per his needs. In addition to these house attributes, house owners and managers can place utility usage data and a minimum bill information on house/building advertisements. Utilities, through smart meters, are collecting and sharing the meter reads with their customers. Apartment owners can leverage analytical tools to determine seasonal minimum/average consumption and neighborhood comparison data, and utilize these metrics in advertising their house. Customers are getting sensitive about their utility bills and this information about site's basic electricity/water/gas cost will help them to make decisions on their budgetary planning. This consumption information's use in advertisement would also provide an opportunity for managers to highlight the savings in utility bills because of energy efficient techniques adopted like better house/building layout e.g. better natural lighting, low heat loss, solar protection, controlled ventilation and measures to reduce energy consumption by energy-efficient equipment installation, self-controlled switches etc. Including the usage data in house advertisements will also compel the owners to implement energy efficient measures on their houses and surrounding property to maintain the competitive edge. Along with adding these details with other house attributes, rental websites can add common search filters and side-comparison options on usage and billing data which will enhance their competitiveness with similar websites. Additional data like equipment age, maintenance schedule, replacement plan shall be helpful for long term occupants. These information may aid tenants to determine an approximate bill and may use it choosing energy supplier or site offering a cheaper tariff. Commercial tenants can plan their operations as per scheduled off-peak times to minimize consumptions during on-peak hours and hence saving on energy bill.
The current tenants must be convinced for sharing utility data ensuring them of guarding their privacy concern by anonymous, secure use and by inferring a basic bill cost without disclosing the actual figures. Moreover the house advertisement would use 'derived' minimum/average consumption and comparisons data on a particular type of house, withholding consumption pattern and end users details. Key to success of this idea is to develop the analytical tools that can extract meaningful value from historic usage and energy efficiency features of the house and present it in form that makes that house attractive for occupation.
Benefits for Apartment Owner -
- Showcase the energy/water/gas saving features in house and their impact on tenant's energy bill.
- Increase in tenant leads.
- Prominent listing in "Consumption" based search on rental website.
- Appear in rental website promotions for new attribute.
Benefits for Tenants -
- Would-be renters get additional attribute in form of approximate average utility bill to decide on the apartment.
- Helps the tenants to plan for buying electrical equipment.
- Helps the commercial house tenants in planning operational cost.
Benefits for Renting portals -
- This house usage information with other comparison analytical tools would attract more visitors to their site.
- It provides advantage over competitors and increases portals popularity.
- With data in hand, house owners will try to utilize these portal features for their house advertisement and hence contributing to portals revenue.