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August 26, 2009

Smart Grid Session Topic: Energy Management in the Home

By Kelly McGuire, TMCnet Editor

With the hustle and bustle of everyday activities, people often to forget to adjust home appliances when leaving for work in the morning. Not only does this cause unnecessary expense for the homeowner, but creates an inefficient energy management system that falls short environmentally.

Henning Schulzrinne (News - Alert), a professor at Columbia University, told TMC in an interview that home energy management systems brought on by the smart grid are beneficial both financially and environmentally.
“With proper energy management, homes can be more energy-efficient, comfortable and secure,” Schulzrinne said. “For example, occupancy sensors, combined with schedule predictors, can turn down heating or air conditioning when people are at work, reducing energy expenses.”
With a system like this, there will be no more worrying about whether you remembered to turn the heat off before you ran out of your house in the morning.
Schulzrinne predicts that home energy management will become increasingly popular as homes begin to provide their own electricity typically via solar, and story energy via plug-in hybrid vehicles, and that maintenance is little to none.
“It has been shown that complicated systems, such as time-of-day thermostats, rarely get programmed correctly,” said Schulzrinne, “so the system has to be self-configuring and require no maintenance.”
Compared to earlier systems that had to rely on very limited user interfaces, Schulzrinne added, modern systems could provide a much better user experience.
However plausible home energy management seems, as a lone entity Schulzrinne believes it could only save a limited amount of energy, and has to be part of a comprehensive system that includes better insulation, more efficient appliances and local energy generation.
“Home energy management should not be thought of as a standalone service,” he said. “It works best if it can be accessed through the Internet, and can derive information from data sources, such as calendars and mobile devices.”
For more information, attend the “Energy Management in the Home” session at TMC’s (News - Alert) ITEXPO West – the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year to be held on Sept. 1 to 3.

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Kelly McGuire is a TMCnet Editor.

Edited by Michael Dinan


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