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EDF fires starting pistol on smart metered Olympics

Members of the public keen to see whether London lives up to its pledge to host the greenest Olympics ever were given a handy new tool yesterday, when energy giant The EDF Group unveiled a new real-time energy monitoring system that has been deployed at some of the most high-profile venues.

The Visi system, which will be made available to the utility's business customers later this year, has been installed at the Olympic Stadium, the Velodrome, the basketball arena and the acquatics centre, as well as Tower Bridge and the EDF London Eye.

The technology will track the energy used at the venues in real time, although in the Olympic Stadium it will only monitor energy used by lighting systems. The data will then be reported through screens at the venues, and a dedicated Power the Games Live website and smartphone app.

Laurent Mineau, manager of energy service for business-to-business customers at EDF Energy, said the Visi reporting system had been designed to make the information energy use information easy to understand and accessible to the wider public.

"The user interface has been designed to make the system more appealing to people who are not familiar with energy charts and graphs," he said, adding that it would also highlight the efforts the Olympics organisers have taken to curb energy use, such as the use of low-energy lighting in the stadium and natural ventilation technologies in the velodrome.

Joe Sharpe, creative director at Applied Works, which helped EDF develop the online application, said the system had been designed to prove as accessible as possible to a wide range of people.

"When approaching this project, we needed to ensure that energy trends made sense to people - most notably providing relevant context specific to a building's use, such as temperature, rainfall, daylight and opening hours," he said. "We also placed great emphasis on making the dashboard exploratory and intuitive, providing quick and easy access to the data energy managers need, while also being an effective way to engage staff."

The system should also help managers at the venues enhance energy efficiency during and after the games, Mineau said.

"We've installed the system at some of our offices and energy managers have already reacted to the information they now have available," he said. "They can see on the screen if there are any anomalies -- such as something being left on that should be switched off -- and they can react immediately."

EDF is now planning to offer the service to business customers across the United Kingdom, providing energy managers and employees with access to energy use information from across their facilities.

Mineau refused to be drawn on how much the service would cost, arguing prices would vary based on how many energy meter points have to be connected to the system.

But he promised that the technology would deliver a rapid return on investment for corporate customers, based on the extent to which the availability of energy use information has been shown to encourage organizations to significantly reduce their energy footprint.


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