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The right solution needs the right support

Sudcal S.A., a district heating supplier in Luxembourg, was looking to do the right thing with a smart meter network that would help them provide energy more efficiently and sustainably. But they couldn’t get the help they needed for their chosen solution — until they talked to Elvaco.

As a tech-agnostic supplier, Elvaco AB works together with their customers and helps them in their choice of meters and communication technology. In the case of Sudcal, Elvaco supplied CMi41xx Series smart metering modules and helped them set up a LoRaWAN wireless network.

The result was a smooth, successful project that has already started to deliver above and beyond its main objectives.


The Challenge

Sudcal S.A. is a supplier of urban heating in Luxembourg, serving customers since 2004. With the goal of delivering heat reliably and cost-effectively, Sudcal also aims for a district heating network that is respectful to the environment.

Ruben Garmyn, a post-graduate student in Electro-mechanical Engineering, was given the task of implementing an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). There were two main reasons for this: firstly, because smart meters would take away the time and effort of reading meters manually on-site, saving several working days every month. And secondly, to give Sudcal a clearer overview of the heating network and the opportunity to follow up on abnormalities such as high return temperatures and unstable regulation. All of which could help Sudcal provide smarter, more cost-effective and sustainable heating.

However, that was easier said than done. When Ruben started exploring the options and looking to buy products for the new smart meter communication network, he just couldn’t get the information he needed to get things up and running. That changed when he contacted Elvaco.


The Solution

As a tech-agnostic supplier, Elvaco was able to give Sudcal the right choice of meter communication modules to fit the different brands of heat meters in their network. Modules that were based on LoRaWAN, the right wireless technology for their needs. 

But it wasn’t just about supplying the right technology. Helping Ruben take the necessary steps towards his ideal solution, Elvaco supported him locally with a LoRaWAN operator who built a network of gateways and eventually Sudcal built its own network solution based on an open source LoRaWAN Network Server. 


The Technology

CMi41xx Series meter connectivity modules can be mounted in heat meters from Landis+Gyr, Itron, Kamstrup, Diehl Metering and Engelmann. The modules are easy to retrofit in existing meters and simple to configure via NFC with the mobile OTC app from Elvaco. As a result, you get an energy-efficient, user-friendly and cost-effective solution with a long communication range and a long battery life of at least 11 years with Elvaco’s unique ECO mode functionality.

LoRaWAN is a wireless communication technology based on open standards that is specifically designed for applications that demand long lifespan, battery operation and long range. Unlike many other meter communication solutions, LoRaWAN also gives the opportunity to build your own infrastructure network relatively inexpensively.


The Results and Customer Verdict

Sudcal’s new smart metering communication and analysis capabilities gave them new value and insight into their operation. Value and insight that can save costs and energy today as well as translate into further improvements for customers and the planet in the future:

  • Billing automatization – saving several days per month for manual meter reading

  • Follow up of high return temperatures - The follow up of high return temperatures helps Sudcal to detect the buildings that need optimisation of their heating systems, as high return temperatures often point towards inefficiency. Lowering the return temperature of the network also allows for less heat losses, less pumping energy, and the possibility to integrate new low temperature renewable heat sources.

  • Follow up of substations with unstable regulation by looking at fluctuations in temperatures and flow.

  • Backup system for production alerts – a module in the heat meter of the boiler gives extra SMS and email alerts to warn when the boiler is shutting off.

  • Analysis of the forward temperatures in the network – with the heat recovery site injecting cold water in the network, the effect on the substations can now be seen

  • Increased revenue – some heat meters ran out of battery, leading to customers getting free heat. Losing LoRaWAN communication is now an early indication that the meter may have run out of battery.

  • Customer consumption profiles – Sudcal can now analyze usage in near real-time for further improvements, thanks to consumption profiles every hour or even less.



"With our new open metering solution, we've unlocked a world of data-driven decision-making that's helping us achieve our sustainability goals!"

Ruben Garmyn, Project Lead for Sudcal S.A.