Innovations in Understanding and Managing Residential Electric Loads

A Field Study of Home Energy Monitoring

By Amalia Hicks, Ph.D.

Cadmus, in partnership with Alliant Energy, conducted a field study of home energy monitoring for the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. The study finds that home energy monitoring boosts adoption of energy-saving strategies by giving customers a roadmap for how to save energy.

According to the study, residential electric customers can reduce their overall energy use by up to 9% by taking a thorough inventory of items that are plugged in and turning off or replacing devices that are wasting energy. This can save customers up to $90 per household per year, or nearly one month’s electricity bill.

The findings have larger implications as utilities look for:

  • the next energy-saving targets (as the residential lighting market matures and ceases to be a key target of savings programs)
  • a roadmap to define, develop, and implement residential demand response programs

One hundred households in rural Wisconsin were equipped with a Sense Home Energy Monitor and the residents used the Sense app to find out how much energy their homes used in real time and historically. Results indicate that the 100 households may have saved enough energy on an annualized basis to power more than eight average homes for one year. In addition, customers reported feeling more knowledgeable about home energy and more positive about the utility.

More than half of the customers in the study changed their daily habits to reduce energy usage, 80% of respondents were satisfied with their decrease in energy costs, and 86% reported the Sense Home Energy Monitor was successful at accurately identifying various sources of energy use in the home.

Find the full report here.