Smart Home Energy Management and Monitoring
Energy consumption management and monitoring are one of the most successful and promising applications of IoT and big data technology for the consumer markets. Home energy monitoring systems adopted by households, utility companies and energy suppliers already provide substantial benefits to the users from the economic, social and environmental points of view.
In this article, we’ll outline how exactly households benefit with smart energy monitoring systems, identify the major segments in this domain and name a number of significant players who currently shape this market.
You will learn:
- How IoT systems for energy monitoring and management help people save money and make a positive environmental impact.
- What products for home energy monitoring and control are already available in the market.
- Who is worth looking into — which companies move this niche forward and build technology products to promote energy efficiency.
The Benefits of Smart Energy Management Solutions
Different smart energy management solutions, from connected plugs to smart energy storage for the residential solar systems, provide a wide range of benefits to households and electricity service providers.
1. Optimized cost
Economic return is one of the major reasons households consider and adopt smart energy management products. An average U.S. household spends around 20% of after-tax income on an electricity bill,
The average electricity bill in Alaska is $332. In Connecticut, it can go as high as $380 in winter. Even in the states with the lowest energy cost, for example, in Washington, an average monthly bill will go over $200.
Smart plugs, circuit boards, learning thermostats and autonomous lighting are designed to reduce energy waste or totally get rid of it. For example, smart circuits know when to stop powering unused devices or chargers. Thermostats dynamically adjust the temperature on demand in different areas instead of cooling or heating the unused spaces. So as autonomous lighting based on LED and sensors works to maximize the potential of natural light and minimize the use of electricity.
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2. Enhanced security and transparency
Another important benefit of using energy monitoring for home is the increased control residents get after adopting the technology.
Once a household installs a smart circuit breaker panel, for example, the residents get access to real-time power consumption insights. Using web or mobile dashboards, they can see the whole house in terms of its energy consumption and environmental impact and use controls to remotely manage it. In other words, a resident becomes an active participant in energy control.
Some utilities such as ComEd provide near-real-time [electricity consumption] data to homeowners, along with pricing structures and load reduction requests.
From the security point of view, smart energy monitoring systems can identify an issue such as the risk of an outbreak or a malfunctioning appliance in advance. In this case, they can automatically take necessary precautions, for example, cut off the power supply or warn residents in time.
3. Reduced carbon footprint
Reduced power consumption leads to reduced emissions and, consequently, reduced carbon footprint. This is a straightforward benefit. However, some smart energy management systems can provide even more than that.
“Smart-home owners can cover up to 50 percent of their annual energy needs using the electricity they have generated locally,” says Martin Weiss, a project manager of a smart home energy management system developed by Bosch.
The rise of residential renewable energy pathed the way to creative projects, including solar power converters and storage and emission reduction systems.
Converters help use the full potential of solar panels as they dynamically convert dc (direct current) generated by renewables to ac (alternating current) required for grid connection. Storage prevents from losing generated solar energy and helps distribute it reasonably. And emission reduction systems allow smart devices to dynamically choose the cleanest power supply depending on the grids’ emission data and expected load.
Based on IoT and big data technology, these projects help households speed up the return on investment to renewables. They make clean energy available and affordable to everyone and, therefore, allow households and the whole communities to contribute to the global environmental initiative.
4. Far-sighted strategy
According to U.S. Energy Information Administration, households consume 37 percent of end-use electricity. Building a strategy for clever and responsible management of these resources is not only important but essential in the context of the growing environmental problems and changes in the energy economy.
IoT-based home energy management systems produce a huge amount of diverse data, including real-time streaming data on ongoing energy consumption and the performance of smart devices. At scale, analysis and visualization of this data can equip utility companies, energy specialists and researchers with useful insights. These insights can help:
- dynamically calculate energy costs, predict future spending and introduce demand-based pricing,
- elaborate incentives for more prudent energy consumption,
- develop a strategy for energy conservation, and
- see the big picture of power supply and demand and adjust regulations and practices accordingly.
This is hardly a complete list. Each group, be it a utility company, which offers a demand response program, or a research team at a national energy conservation agency, can work with the available power consumption data to optimize their strategies and services.
Significant changes in the energy market directly influence the variety of products available to consumers. Today, tools in energy management, IoT-based smart home automation devices and software are abundant. Here are the main categories in this domain and some of the most popular products in each category.
Smart sockets, plugs and energy strips
Probably, the simplest and most straightforward way to monitor and control energy usage is by changing traditional sockets and plugs to the smart ones. Once it’s done, every household resident who has an app and relevant authorization can use a wide array of features.
- Connect power supply points into a network and create a home energy monitor system;
- Monitor electricity consumption in real time and identify trends using historical data;
- Set up custom regimes, for example, for reduced energy use or creating the effect of presence when leaving the house for holiday;
- Remotely control sockets and plugs and schedule switch off to effortlessly get rid of every energy waste point.
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On the other side, this solution is limited to Wi-Fi and may not reach far outdoors points. However, it doesn’t lessen the recognition of Kasa products, as
Home energy monitors
Home energy monitors are installed to an existing electric panel. Once the monitor identifies the electric devices plugged in the house, it starts monitoring their performance and power consumption based on each device’s unique signature.
All the gathered information from the panel’s sensors is then analyzed and sent in the form of easy-to-read insights to the user’s mobile or web application. Thus, the residents can monitor their electricity use in real time, follow the related costs and cut down on unnecessary energy usage.
Depending on the type of monitor, it can track electricity consumption coming from a traditional grid and help the adopters of solar analyze the performance of their panels. It calculates power generation and usage and, therefore, monitors savings and predicts the return on investment.
Digiteum team has developed an IoT-based smart energy management system that empowers households, utility companies and energy suppliers with invaluable insights. It allows homeowners to monitor and control their electricity usage, calculate and predict spending and detect anomalies in the performance of electric appliances before they become dangerous. Learn more about the system in the case study.
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Smart energy storage
Energy storage is a relatively new but fast-developing area in this market that have already taken a place among smart home technology trends. Apart from a smart panel that provides visibility and insights on household electricity usage, storage systems allow storing extra power for the case of an outage.
Unlike traditional storage which basically works like batteries and power hardwired circuits, intelligent storage systems provide homeowners with manager capabilities. Residents can monitor loads and dynamically choose the preferred circuits to power.
Solar-enabled homes receive additional benefits from smart storage as it backs up a traditional PV system, helps better explore generated solar power and get a faster return on investment.
Lumin’s storage system was endorsed by Tesla’s PW2 installers. It enables controlled and dynamic power distribution in the case of an outage and helps residential solar power adopters to maximize the performance of their PV systems.
Are you working on a system for the smart home market? Interested in IoT-based energy monitoring and management solutions? At Digiteum, we have experts who have worked on IoT energy telemetry software and could answer your questions in this area, technology and business-wise. Check our custom IoT development services and contact our team to talk about your own technology product.
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