Story courtesy San Diego Gas & Electric
Ever wonder exactly how much energy a microwave oven or big screen TV uses, whether you left your refrigerator door open, or how much money can be saved by turning off a home computer while at work?
The answer to those questions may not be that far off.
A new San Diego Gas & Electric research study plans to test technology that can measure in-home electricity consumption down to the individual circuit and appliance level. The research will be supported by the Pecan Street Research Institute, a consumer energy research organization headquartered at the University of Texas at Austin.
Approximately 30-50 SDG&E customers living in the Civita master-planned development in Mission Valley will be selected to participate in the study. Civita, a Sudberry Properties development, is an SDG&E “Smart Community” project where smart grid technology is being integrated including solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, fuel cell generation, battery storage and enhanced energy management tools for residents.
“This research will take smart grid technology to a new level by providing among the most detailed energy usage data to customers through technology that is not even on the market yet,” said John Sowers, SDG&E vice president for generation and resource planning. “Through the research study, SDG&E will learn how this in depth data can help customers to make smarter energy decisions and save money.”
By understanding how customers use electricity at the circuit level, SDG&E hopes to identify ways to help tailor future utility programs related to home area networks, energy efficiency and demand response. Demand response programs signal customers when to reduce usage in order to meet resource demand when the grid is reaching capacity. This new knowledge could also allow SDG&E to recommend specific measures customers can take to both reduce usage and cost.
Pecan Street will provide volunteer participants with a free website and mobile application that provides real-time information on the customer’s electricity use down to the appliance and circuit level as well as information on appliance, rooftop solar panel and home energy performance. The service is powered by an “energy data router” installed at the customer’s circuit panel. The router is manufactured in California.
Pecan Street already operates this technology in nearly a thousand homes, apartments, businesses and public schools throughout Texas and, starting later this summer, in Colorado. Its work began in the Mueller neighborhood in Austin, built on the land of a former airport and redeveloped into a ground-breaking mix-used, sustainable urban neighborhood. A decade later, the 711-acre Mueller community is a bustling mini-city and among the world’s largest LEED-ND certified communities.
The entire news release can be found on the PR Newswire.