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Home > Feature Articles > Alternative Energy Solutions

Monitoring Tools Help Cut Home Energy Use, Study Finds

Electric meters, thermostats, water heaters and dryers connected to software help reduce energy by 10%.

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interior design and air quality Saving wall finishes Project found that advanced technologies enable consumers to be active participants in improving power grid efficiency and reliability, while saving money in the process. On average, consumers who participated in the project saved approximately 10 percent on their electricity bills.

"Giving people the means to closely monitor and adjust their electricity use lowers their monthly bills and could significantly reduce the need to build new power plants, according to the yearlong government study.

The results of the research project by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory of the Energy Department, released Wednesday, suggest that if households have digital tools to set temperature and price preferences, the peak loads on utility grids could be trimmed by up to 15 percent a year. Over a 20-year period, this could save $70 billion on spending for power plants and infrastructure, and avoid the need to build the equivalent of 30 large coal-fired plants, say scientists at the federal laboratory.

The 112 homeowners who participated in the Olympic Peninsula project received new electric meters, as well as thermostats, water heaters and dryers connected via Invensys Controls home gateway devices to IBM software.

Energy control software

The software let homeowners customize devices to a desired level of comfort or economy and automatically responded to changing electricity prices in five-minute intervals. To reduce usage in peak periods, when electricity is most expensive, the software automatically lowered thermostats or shut off the heating element of water heaters to the pre-set response limits established by individual homeowners.

Read more... www.pnl.gov



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