Is smart water meter temporal resolution a limiting factor to residential water end-use classification? A quantitative experimental analysis

Zahra Heydari, Andrea Cominola, Ashlynn S. Stillwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Water monitoring in households provides occupants and utilities with key information to support water conservation and efficiency in the residential sector. High costs, intrusiveness, and practical complexity limit appliance-level monitoring via sub-meters on every water-consuming end use in households. Non-intrusive machine learning methods have emerged as promising techniques to analyze observed data collected by a single meter at the inlet of the house and estimate the disaggregated contribution of each water end use. While fine temporal resolution data allow for more accurate end-use disaggregation, there is an inevitable increase in the amount of data that needs to be stored and analyzed. To explore this tradeoff and advance previous studies based on synthetic data, we first collected 1 s resolution indoor water use data from a residential single-point smart water metering system installed at a four-person household, as well as ground-truth end-use labels based on a water diary recorded over a 4-week study period. Second, we trained a supervised machine learning model (random forest classifier) to classify six water end-use categories across different temporal resolutions and two different model calibration scenarios. Finally, we evaluated the results based on three different performance metrics (micro, weighted, and macro F1 scores). Our findings show that data collected at 1- to 5-s intervals allow for better end-use classification (weighted F-score higher than 0.85), particularly for toilet events; however, certain water end uses (e.g., shower and washing machine events) can still be predicted with acceptable accuracy even at coarser resolutions, up to 1 min, provided that these end-use categories are well represented in the training dataset. Overall, our study provides insights for further water sustainability research and widespread deployment of smart water meters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number045004
JournalEnvironmental Research: Infrastructure and Sustainability
Volume2
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022

Keywords

  • residential water use
  • smart water meter
  • supervised machine learning
  • temporal resolution
  • water sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development

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