Smart Home Energy Monitoring

Amalia Hicks, Ph.D., a principal leading the Cadmus Pilots and Technology Assessment team, presented at the 2022 ACEEE Summer Study on smart home energy monitoring.

A Midwest utility is conducting an ongoing, exploratory pilot investigating the uses of a customer-facing, broadband, device-level energy monitor. This pilot has three primary objectives: identify behavioral effects produced by homeowner awareness of energy use, derive estimates of energy savings achievable through replacement or servicing of inefficient equipment, and assess the impact that might be achieved with demand response initiatives.

The first 100 monitors were installed in rural areas in 2018. An additional 100 monitors are installed each year as new participant segments are targeted for inclusion (e.g., low-income customers) and added research questions are explored. Initial findings show that new energy-savings opportunities were sought out by nearly one-third of responding participants, and 57% said their opinion of their utility had improved since entering the pilot. “Always On” loads present the opportunity to reduce participants’ overall energy use by 9%. Customers who were most engaged with the technology reduced their electric use by 1-6% after interaction with the monitor app.

The paper describes the ongoing pilot, including recruitment, installation, process and impact evaluation methodology, preliminary demand response impacts, and results to date. Multiple applications of device-level data are presented, including energy and demand savings potential, behavioral changes resulting from engagement with the monitor and its associated messaging, load profile development, and technology-assisted optimization of electric vehicle charging. Installation and connection challenges related to electric panel-mounted, broadband-connected devices will be discussed, as well as device identification hurdles and the specific barriers associated with low-income participation.

Click here to read the paper.

Authors: Amalia Hicks, Ph.D. and Ari Kornelis