For building owners and property managers, reducing energy consumption means a financial savings as well. However, with multiple tenants, conserving energy can be a challenge. One solution might be putting the data into the hands of the tenants by introducing a connected metering service in buildings.

One new service, for example, allows tenants to monitor and manage energy consumption, so that even in multifamily buildings, residents can keep tabs on how much they are using.

Deutsche Telekom,, Bonn, Germany, announced a collaboration with energy provider, ista Intl.,, Essen, Germany, to use mobile communications for utility monitoring. Readings from meters for power, heating, and water are collected by ista using radio technology, then sent to a local ista communication unit, which bundles the data and transmits it to ista’s servers. Deutsche Telekom’s cellular network provides the channel for data transfer.

With the system in place, meter readers will no longer need to manually inspect each meter to gauge usage, and this will also eliminate the burden to some tenants of having to stay home on a certain day to allow meter access.

With remote meter reading enabled, ista will be able to provide additional services to customers. One example is ista energy data management, which offers users an online dashboard for energy monitoring and control. Via the dashboard or a mobile app, customers can view monthly consumption data. Deutsche Telekom says this feature will allow residents to monitor how much they consume so they aren’t surprised by a bill at the end of the month.

Overall, smart meter use continues to increase. Navigant Research,, Boulder, Colo., says penetration rates for smart meters reached nearly 39% in North America in 2012, and the research firm also predicts the worldwide installed base of smart meters will grow from 313 million in 2013 to nearly 1.1 billion in 2022.

By providing the means for building tenants to monitor consumption, smart meters can take the mystery out of utility billing. In doing so, they are meeting a need for which they were originally designed: Putting the ability to manage energy use into the hands of the tenant. The end result is a significant amount of energy savings for all parties involved.