Energy use of residential safety, security, and health devices
Miscellaneous electrical loads (MELs) are responsible for a significant fraction of energy consumption in buildings. This paper addresses one category of MELs: Safety, Security, and Health Devices (SSHDs). Common SSHDs include: electrical life safety equipment, smoke alarms, radon mitigation fans, and home oxygen concentrators. The installation or use of these devices is dictated by building codes, health providers, insurance companies, and other entities—none of which would ordinarily consider energy efficiency a priority. For this project, the most important residential devices were explored in terms of their governing regulations, functions, technologies, and energy use. The power consumption of 41 life safety SSHDs were measured. Individual power consumption of life safety devices is very small but many are typically required in every home. Devices performing the same functions have wide ranges in power use. Opportunities for reducing SSHD energy use were investigated, the results are summarized, and recommendations are made for further actions that could be taken to reduce SSHD energy use. SSHDs identified in this paper are responsible for at least one percent of current U.S. residential electricity consumption, but that number will climb steadily as existing buildings are upgraded and new types of SSHDs appear.