Hourly energy readings from heat billing meters are valuable data source for energy performance assessment of district heating substations and the buildings they serve. The quality of such analyses is bounded by the accuracy of the hourly readings. Thus, assessing the accuracy of the hourly heat meter readings is a necessary (but often overlooked) first step to ensure qualitative subsequent analyses. Due to often limited bandwidth capacity hourly readings are quantized before transmission, which can cause severe information loss. In this paper we study 266 Swedish heat meters and assess the quantization effect by information entropy ranking. Further, a detailed comparison is conducted with three heat meters with typically occurring quantization errors. Uncertainty due to the quantization effect is compared with the uncertainty due to typical accuracy of the meter instrumentation. A method to conflate information from both energy readings and energy calculated from flow and temperature readings is developed. The developed conflation method is shown to be able to decrease uncertainty for heat meters with severely quantized energy readings. However, it is concluded that a preferable approach is to work with the heat meter infrastructure to ensure future recorded readings holds high enough quality to be useful for energy performance assessments with hourly or subhourly readings.
Keywords Heat meters; Uncertainty; District heating; Information entropy; EN 1434