Smart Home Energy Management: Use Cases and Savings Opportunities
Smart home technology has been gaining traction in recent years, especially since the introduction of intelligent personal assistants such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home. With smart devices replacing manual controls in homes, utilities and policymakers need to understand the potential of this technology to save energy or shift load to identify whether/how they can support it. While most of the current industrial research on smart home technology focuses on non-energy benefits, there is a clear need to identify products and features that hold promise to support home energy management (HEM) functions. This paper presents a framework for identifying use cases for home energy management systems (HEMS). Our analysis draws on data from a multi-method research study on HEMS that included interviews and surveys with consumers and stakeholders, as well as a technological assessment of over 300 HEM products. The framework inventories and categorizes opportunities to reduce or shift home energy consumption, then maps these opportunities to specific strategies a HEM product user can enact, or allow, and specifies the required product/system features and user interactions. These use cases can support the design of smart home products that better enable HEMS, the development of educational tools to promote the energy management uses of smart home products to consumers and can guide the creation of policies, regulations, and programs.