Home Energy Management at IEEE’s International Conference on Consumer Electronics

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At the recent IEEE International Conference on Consumer Electronics inLas Vegas, energy management was a major topic of discussion. As the session organizer and chair for home energy management, I wanted to share details from a few of the interesting presentations from the conference.

Information and Communication Technology Use: Electricity Consumption Impacts
Barbara Schlomann of the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (Fraunhofer ISI) discussed the impact of the increasing use of information and communication technology (ICT) and consumer electronics (CE) on electricity consumption in the residential sector. According to the reference forecast, electricity consumption for ICT in Germany will increase by 23% between 2007 and 2020, with a continuous increase for private households and data centers. In a Green IT scenario, however, electricity consumption can be almost stabilized at the level of the base year 2007. Whether these saving potentials will be realized depends mainly on the policies countries introduce to stimulate the uptake of very efficient products and network solutions.

EPA’s Work in “Intelligent” Energy-Saving Features for ENERGY STAR
Amanda Stevens and Katharine Kaplan of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star program presented the EPA approach to energy efficiency of consumer devices. EPA has encouraged implementation of “intelligent” energy-saving features for ENERGY STAR® products, and is working closely with a variety of stakeholders, including manufacturers, utilities and efficiency advocacy groups, to explore ways in which the ENERGY STAR® program can advance the market for smart grid-enabled products in ways that deliver immediate consumer value as well as longer-term system benefits.

GE: Intelligent Home Energy Management
William Burke of General Electric Appliances discussed his visions of the current and future directions of home energy management. GE has been developing an intelligent, wireless home energy management product, the Nucleus, that was the main subject of William’s presentation. Nucleus monitors and controls household energy usage by a smart network consisting of a smart meter and smart appliances. The regular household appliances can be “smartened” by utilizing GE’s Brillion technology.

Samsung: Automating Demand Response
Ying Li of Samsung USA discussed issues related to automating demand response (DR) in a Smart Grid network.  With automatic DR and dynamic pricing, when each household device is flexible to run at any time in a large time window, undesirable rebound peaks may occur. Ying showed that a system of multiple homes and a utility company has the lowest cost if the energy usage is flat over time, studied multiple approaches for managing the rebound peak, and accordingly proposed algorithms for DR at each home. Effectiveness of the approaches was verified by numerical results.

Fraunhofer CSE: Home Energy Management Device Data Disaggregation
On behalf of Fraunhofer CSE, I also made a presentation on our recent work. Home energy displays are relatively inexpensive energy management devices that may or may not require professional installation. Usually, they provide whole-house, near real-time electricity consumption information with a primary goal of helping homeowners save energy. However, the information provided by these displays is not actionable, since the occupants still need to learn the energy consumption of the household devices, e.g.,by switching them on and off.

Our talk presented a novel computational algorithm that can automatically disaggregate the display data into the loads on individual appliances. By knowing the power draw and operational profiles of the individual appliances, the consumer can better control home energy usage. The algorithm uses a probabilistic framework to incorporate information, additional to the power draw, which dramatically improves the disaggregation accuracy. The accuracy of the method was illustrated by a simulation example and by actual household data. We are honored by IEEE’s award to us of a “special merit award for outstanding paper” for this work.

About author
I am a member of Fraunhofer CSE's Technical Staff, and lead the Building Energy Technologies group's energy modeling activities.
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