Courtesy Adobe Stock/Stanisic Vladimir

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed a solution to managing multiple smart home devices in one home. The NREL software called “foresee” is an energy management system that relies on preferences to control and coordinate the home’s connected appliances and electronics. By ranking the importance of each goal, the software takes those preferences into account and automatically adjusts the devices accordingly. The NREL has more details on the new technology.

Dane Christensen, leader of NREL's Residential Systems Performance team and principal investigator on the foresee project, said people typically identify four goals for their house: comfortable air temperature and hot water, convenience, reduced costs, and a low environmental impact. But the order and importance of these goals are different for every household.

Using connected appliances, foresee can achieve whole-home outcomes and energy savings that weren't previously available. Over the years, research has identified ways to reduce energy consumption in homes, particularly newer ones, and manufacturers have rolled out energy-efficient air conditioners and water heaters, for example. But, Christensen said, additional energy savings can often be achieved by coordinating when and how a home's appliances operate—regardless of their rated efficiency. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the residential sector consumes more electricity than any other in the United States, so the potential benefits of energy-saving technologies are large.

Read More