Smart Grid and the Consumer
What does the advent of the Smart Grid mean to the way we will live our lives as energy consumers? A variety of new devices and improvements to common household appliances will give us control over when and how we use energy, not to mention how much we pay. Explore this page to catch a glimpse of what is enabled by the G2H platform.
Major home appliance manufacturers such as Whirlpool and GE have come out in support of the Smart Grid. Whirlpool has announced that all of its electronically controlled appliances will be Smart Energy compliant by 2015. These appliances will be able to respond to signals from the utility company to choose the best time to operate based on real-time electricity pricing. GE’s smart appliances include a refrigerator, range, microwave, dishwasher and washer and dryer. Other manufacturers are designing pool filters, water heaters and home heating and air-conditioning units that are Smart Energy compliant.
An In-Home Display (IHD) is a device that provides homeowners with real-time data on power consumption, electricity rates and additional information from their utility service provider. This immediate feedback raises energy awareness and assists consumers with their household decision-making. Consumers can choose when to run appliances, see the results of switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, switching off the air-conditioner and unplugging an old fridge. Pilot programs have shown energy savings of around 7-20% compared with consumers who do not have an In-Home Display.
Smart PHEV and BEV Chargers
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) have the potential to greatly reduce dependence on foreign oil. Replacing 73% of cars and small trucks with PHEV’s and BEV’s would reduce U.S. oil imports by 52%. Today’s U.S. power plants could supply the energy needed to charge these vehicles, but only if the vehicles are charged off-peak. Smart Energy enabled Smart Chargers will be necessary for making this PHEV vision a reality. The two-way communications infrastructure, delivering price and demand signals, will allow utilities to handle the increased load from PHEVs and BEV’s and will allow the energy for these vehicles to be cost effective for consumers.
Installation of Smart Thermostats can significantly reduce household energy bills. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Smart Thermostat pilot programs provide a system for regulating home heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC). In addition to turning heat or air conditioning on and off in response to signals from the utility company or specified temperatures, the system monitors the thermal behavior of the home, as well as daily outdoor temperatures and weather forecasts to optimize the user experience and comfort. Smart Thermostats can make an HVAC system 20-30% more efficient than a thermostat set by users alone.
Energy Management Systems
The Energy Management Systems being developed today will give consumers the ability to program appliances (dishwashers, ice makers, washers, dryers) that can be scheduled to take advantage of the cheapest electricity available for purchase, all from one control device. EMS users will create rules to completely power down consumer electronics at times when no one is using them. There will be a variety of different EMS devices for different user profiles from PC based applications to portable dedicated EMS devices to service provided based solutions that monitor and optimize consumer usage via pre-set preferences.