HVAC systems

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) issued a whitepaper discussing the impact of smart home technologies on consumer energy use and reliability of grid networks.

The whitepaper, Energy Impacts of Smart Home Technologies, explores factors driving consumers to adopt smart home technologies.

The paper also details how utilities are including smart technologies in energy efficiency and demand response programmes.

ACEEE provides recommendations on how energy providers can optimise energy management programmes integrated with smart technology services.

The smart home technologies included in the whitepaper include lighting, outlets and power strips, window coverings, HVAC, water heating and home energy management systems.

Benefits of smart home technologies include simplifying utilities acquisition of consumer energy usage data to provide customers with personalised services and to better predict variations in energy demand on the main grid.

ACEEE predicts energy savings of up to 17% if every household in the US adopts a smart home technology amongst HVAC, water heating, lighting, kitchen and laundry appliances, as well as home office and entertainment equipment systems.

Results from smart thermostat programmes show average reductions in peak demand ranging from 0.6 to 1.2 kW per thermostat for each event and average savings of 10% and 4% in total household gas and electricity use, respectively.

Few programmes have reported reductions above 1.2 kW.

Apart from optimising home energy use, ACEEE says consumers are adopting smart technologies to enhance safety and privacy through real-time monitoring and control of homes via voice commands, smart phone apps and the cloud.

On the other hand, the high costs and complexity of smart home technologies are hindering consumer adoption. Cybersecurity issues also remain a concern.

To maximise adoption of smart home technologies, ACEEEE recommends:

  • An increase in collaboration between stakeholders in developing national, regional and global standards
  • Increase in utilities, governments and the private sector offering incentives towards consumer adoption and inclusion of smart technologies in utilities energy management initiatives
  • Increased investments in consumer awareness programmes.

The whitepaper can be downloaded here...