Over the last few weeks we have investigated the concepts and major companies behind the “home automation” movement. It is difficult to read through even one document in this emerging market without a reference to the Smart Grid and Smart Appliances. There appears to be substantial misunderstanding of these two terms and considering the momentum behind this movement it is important to clarify the terms.
Extracted from a whitepager delivered by Energy.gov: “Smart grid” generally refers to a class of technology people are using to bring utility electricity delivery systems into the 21st century, using computer-based remote control and automation. These systems are made possible by two-way communication technology and computer processing that has been used for decades in other industries. They are beginning to be used on electricity networks, from the power plants and wind farms all the way to the consumers of electricity in homes and businesses. They offer many benefits to utilities and consumers — mostly seen in big improvements in energy efficiency on the electricity grid and in the energy users’ homes and offices.
According to AHAM: Smart Appliances refers to a modernization of the electricity usage system of a home appliance so that it monitors, protects and automatically adjusts its operation to the needs of its owner.
The following six key features that are associated with Smart Appliances:
Dynamic electricity pricing information is delivered to the user, providing the ability to adjust demand of electrical energy use.
Automatically ―shed or reduce usage based on the consumer‘s previously established guidelines or manual overrides.
Integrity of its operation is maintained while automatically adjusting its operation to respond to emergency power situations and help prevent brown or blackouts.
The consumer can override all previously programmed selections or instructions from the Smart Grid, while insuring the appliance‘s safety functions remain active.
When connected through a Home Area Network and/or controlled via a Home Energy Management system, Smart Appliances allow for a ―total home energy usage‖ approach. This enables the consumer to develop their own Energy Usage Profile and use the data according to how it best benefits them.
It can leverage features to use renewable energy by shifting power usage to an optimal time for renewable energy generation, i.e., when the wind is blowing or sun is shining.
Examples of Smart Appliances are:
Freezers, Dishwashers, Cloths Dryers, Alarm Systems, Refrigerators, Range Tops, Ovens, Microwaves…
Smart Grid and Smart Appliances are dramatically shifting the way people everywhere consume energy. Although these appliances may come with a higher price tag in the beginning, the increased saving in utilities combined with government rebates is prompting more and more consumers to replace their old appliances.