What is it?
Residential usage disaggregators include technologies that use behind the meter logging equipment to sense electrical usage patterns within the home. Software is used to learn the “digital fingerprint” of appliances and devices in the home, and when and how long each of these loads are in use.
How does it work?
These devices monitor the incoming electric feed at the central breaker. Different systems read electrical consumption between 1 hz and 4+Mhz. As a result, these systems can detect change patterns within equipment usage. For example, fluorescent lighting requires a high electrical current for a very brief period when turned on. The magnitude and duration of this inrush current looks very different from a compressor motor starting in a refrigerator.
What are the most appropriate applications?
Residential customers engaged with their energy use can benefit from these devices. Knowing how much it costs to run exterior lights all night long, for example, may incentivize people to shut them off before going to bed, or to add occupancy sensors. Additional analyses beyond typical disaggregators are needed for these types of benefits.
What are the savings?
Savings will depend on the customer. These devices can inform and influence behavioral, but they do not save energy on their own.
What are the non-energy benefits?
Some systems can also be connected to a smart home system. Want a text message when the wash is done? Want your digital voice assistant (e.g. Alexa) to notify you when your toast popped? These potential integrations are ways to turn devices without “smart” capabilities, into devices that act smart.
What is the cost?
Costs range from $200 to $400 for the device and typically require an electrician to install. Some devices may charge additional monthly charges to store data and provide reporting.
What is the status/availability of the technology?
Beta versions of the technology are available to individual consumers through vendors, although different vendors have different levels of ability to detect devices and provide users notification.
What kinds of incentives/programs are available?
Right now, there are no incentives available for a system like this.