IEEE Spectrum on Consumers and Conservation

Great article in IEEE about consumer behavior and energy management, located at IEEE Spectrum – Smart Conservation for the Lazy Consumer. Our comments are located there, as follows:

This article does a great job of introducing some thoughtful characteristics of successful, technology-enabled energy conservation use cases in residential settings. Shifting the focus from total energy reduction to better distributing energy consumption over time (resulting in peak shaving) creates value for the grid that will be passed through to the consumer through better, more targeted incentives than most current rate design provides. Fundamentally, these incentives, plus the cost of “energy servers” and their successful integration with appliances, need to undercut the cost of adding peaking capacity to the grid to be a scalable economic solution. One loose end not touched on here is the applicability of such incentives to the generation of distributed peak energy like rooftop solar. The effect of generation is similar to reduced load (but not the same, especially in regard to power quality). An energy server should be designed to manage this local generation as well.

I’m glad the authors tapped the Intel Home Energy Dashboard as an illustrative example of such an energy server. Gridata designed and built the integration, data handling and persistence middleware specifically to enable such futuristic use cases, so it is a rare example of how an energy server would actually work. The stand-alone system works with or without an internet connection, interoperates with smart appliances and smart meters, computes detailed trends and metrics onboard, and provides unparalleled data privacy features. We developed the core functions alongside a top-tier SF design company who created the visually compelling interface, which explores how consumers think of and percieve their appliances and energy usage. While the low-end residential energy management market outside of smart thermostats shows few signs of picking up, there is a significant number of higher-end consumers globally who are installing onsite (typically solar) generation, installing monitoring systems, and experimenting with time-of-use and other elective utility tariffs. Consumer electronics companies should consider the opportunity to use the Intel Home Energy Dashboard platform and build a powerful brand beachhead, by engaging these consumers early with compelling technology that works. Nest.com is reaping this type of premium with just a thermostat, now it’s time for another consumer electronics company to make a full-fledged energy server a reality. Gridata can help: Energy Intelligence Platform

Thank you IEEE Spectrum for a great article and in depth research about the behaviors of residential consumers in the face of energy conservation.

 

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