Permanent Electrical Loads in New Homes
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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Permanent Electrical Loads in New Homes

  • Author(s): Meier, Alan
  • Aillot, Quentin
  • et al.

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Numerous electrical products and components are installed by the builder during construction and prior to occupancy. Some of these components are required by safety codes, such as smoke detectors, others are needed to support the communications infrastructure, and still others provide features that future occupants will find useful, such as remotely controlled garage door openers. We compiled a list of over 50 builder-installed devices that are likely to have continuous power consumption, and measured the power consumptions for a smaller group. A procedure to measure these loads in a home was developed based on readings from the smart meter. A typical American home can easily have 80 W of continuous power – over 650 kWh/year – devoted to these components. New homes are likely to have more of these devices and higher loads. Techniques to reduce this energy use include: selection of lowest-power solutions when a range of power consumptions are available, more efficient circuitry and power management, a separate DC circuit to serve DC-powered appliances, and use of energyscavenging sensors and controls in place of grid-powered components. A protocol to define and measure builder-installed loads, along with a recommended ceiling, might also stimulate savings.

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