The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is opening up the system it uses for tracing energy use on its own campus for public use. Energy DataBus tracks, stores, and analyzes energy-related, time-series data, and can be used on facilities ranging from a single building to a large campus for energy data management needs. The system is available for free download by request.
Key features of the open-source software include the ability to store large amounts of data collected at high frequencies and integrate it into a single database. “The data gathered by NREL comes in different formats, at different rates, from a wide variety of sensors, meters, and control networks," says Keith Searight, development manager of the Energy DataBus. "The Energy DataBus software collects all this data and aligns it within one scalable database."
Energy DataBus supports the Cassandra database and PlayORM, which allows the software to interact with various types of data. Data can be collected from control system using the BACNet protocol, from electrical meters with the ModBus protocol, and from weather sensors via requests to an on-site weather station. The software can be integrated into small desktop applications and run on a laptop or virtual machine, and was designed to support cloud architecture. NREL currently runs its version with 12 database nodes on servers and four nodes on virtual machines.
To use Energy DataBus, facilities will need to connect their existing data collection systems with the program and configure it for their needs. For example, a team at NREL has developed an application that uses the Energy DataBus to provide data to a set of energy dashboards, allowing anyone on site to monitor the energy performance of the NREL campus. Another team at NREL has developed an app that allows building occupants to report their comfort levels.