Hot off the press, NEEP has just released a report entitled “The Smart Energy Home: Driving Residential Building Decarbonization”. This report builds on NEEP’s multi-year effort in the smart energy homes space, and brings the role of controls more clearly into focus, outlining their importance for decarbonizing residential properties.
Imagine a world where knowing how much energy you’re using is the norm. In this new world, you would be able to see exactly how much energy you’re using and imagine ways to reduce your usage without ever contacting your utility. Wouldn’t that be something?
“The Internet of Things” (IoT) is a term coined in 1999 to describe the vast array of connected devices like refrigerators, blenders, cars, cameras, light bulbs, thermostats, pacemakers, and yes, even Barbie.
While completing my Masters of Science in Environmental Science and Policy at Clark University, I had the opportunity to work as a Smart Energy Ambassador at the National Grid Sustainability Hub (the Hub). Energy became my concentration in grad school; I look at it as the central point in environmental issues, as well as the solution. During my time at the Hub, I was able to interact with customers and help them engage with energy efficiency and demand response programs, while gaining a deeper understanding of how people use their energy.
Did you ever watch the Jetsons? What about Back to the Future 2 (where the “future” was 2015, by the way)? Maybe you entered the new millennium expecting, in no time, to live in a home with fingerprint key access, voice commands preparing dinner, and perhaps even a robotic friend greeting you at the end of a long day?
In the home automation space, innovations are abundant. Cool new gadgets and gizmos that simplify your life, provide an increased sense of security, and - as if an afterthought - help you save energy are popping up everywhere. While NEEP and other efficiency stakeholders have used the phrase Home Energy Management System (HEMS) to talk about products that can save energy within these ecosystems, customers are - for the most part - purchasing these devices, software, and systems for other reasons.
Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS) include any hardware and/or software system that can monitor and provide feedback about a home’s energy usage, and/or enable advanced control of energy-using systems and devices in the home. Often marketed through comfort and security lenses, HEMS ultimately have the opportunity to help provide deeper energy savings and harness the energy components of today to have the smart home of tomorrow.