The Energy Information Standards Alliance (EIS Alliance) has released a new white paper that explains Customer Energy Management Systems (CEMS) and why they will be at the heart of the technology systems that manage home and building energy consumption and interactions with the smart grid. The white paper can be downloaded at www.eisalliance.org.

“CEMS offer proven technology that is also the lowest-cost, most flexible, and most secure approach to interacting with the smart grid,” according to David Bunzel, executive director of the EIS Alliance. “Combining CEMS with a smarter electrical grid will unlock a new generation of savings that could easily exceed $1 trillion (USD) by 2020.”

CEMS serve as the central hub to manage energy use, optimized for residential, commercial, and industrial customers. There are a number of global companies that manufacture advanced CEMS technology and tens-of-thousands of such systems already deployed. The EIS Alliance is working to establish energy information specifications and standards that will support and enable the CEMS architecture in smart grid applications. Domains such as electric vehicle charging systems, HVAC systems, generators, storage systems, alternate energy generation, water heaters, and lighting are all on the Alliance roadmap to support seamless interoperability with the smart grid.

“Interoperability and security are watchwords in smart grid and energy control systems, and CEMS can leverage secure wireless IT networks,” said Dorothy Stanley, head of standards strategy for Aruba Networks. “For cost reasons and for interoperability, Wi-Fi is a leading choice because it provides tremendous flexibility with respect to CEMS deployment options, and allows integrators to leverage thousands of certified interoperable products in support of a broad range of energy control applications.”

“Energy savings of more than 30% are common in commercial buildings, and the CEMS is as an essential factor in making it possible,” said to John Ruiz, program director for Sustainable Energy Technology at Johnson Controls. “A smart grid interacting with smart buildings will enable utilities to manage the grid effectively while providing new revenue streams to building owners.”

“Taking advantage of CEMS provides one of the most significant opportunities to reduce power consumption in residential, industrial, and commercial buildings,” said David Kaufman, business development director for Honeywell. “We envision the day when the CEMS becomes an integral part of the smart grid, allowing the customer to make decisions that ultimately will save them energy and costs.”

Some of the features of future CEMS products will be the ability to receive energy information, such as real-time pricing from local utility providers, and deciding how to effectively manage heating and cooling. The EIS Alliance white paper on CEMS provides an excellent reference to show how this architecture will support commercial, industrial, and residential markets to achieve optimal energy efficiency.