Building Health Monitoring Platform

National Association of REALTORS®

The National Association of REALTORS®' research and development group, CRT Labs, has built an open source platform for monitoring the health and efficiency of a home. The system is capable of monitoring indoor environmental quality, energy production and consumption, local weather data and HVAC runtime information.

Indoor environmental quality is monitored by utilizing custom hardware designed and developed by CRT Labs. The PiAQ and Touchstone are open source hardware that continually monitor the following measurement points.

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Air Pressure
  • Light Intensity
  • Sound Intensity
  • CO2 (Carbon Dioxide)
  • VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds)
  • PM 2.5 (Particulate Matter)

For monitoring energy production and consumption we are able to utilize two different methods depending on what is available in the area. In areas that have deployed smart meters that implement the ZigBee Smart Energy protocol we can talk directly to the meters to pull real time energy data. In locations that have not deployed smart meters we have successfully utilized Neurio Home Energy Monitors. This device works by installing directly into the electrical panel and connecting to a WiFi network to provide real time energy data over the LAN.

Our system also has the capability to monitor local weather data using off-the-shelf consumer weather stations. It currently works with Davis Instruments and Fine Offset sensor arrays. This gives us insight into hyper-local weather information.

  • Outdoor Temperature
  • Outdoor Humidity
  • Pressure
  • UV Index
  • Solar Radiation
  • Rainfall Accumulation
  • Wind Direction
  • Wind Speed
  • Wind Gust

HVAC usage is reported to consume up to 50% of a building’s energy consumption. By monitoring thermostat parameters, we are able to correlate overall energy usage with HVAC usage to understand a building’s energy efficiency with regards to insulation and HVAC efficiency.

The ideal configuration would implement all of the above subsystems to give a complete overview of a home's health and how well it is performing. However, the system operates normally with any combination of the above subsystems configured.

The only constraint for deploying the system is access to Internet, either WiFi or ethernet, which can be provided by the property owner or by deploying the system with a cellular Hotspot.