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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Characterization and Potential of Home Energy Management (HEM) Technology

  • Author(s): Karlin, Beth
  • Ford, Rebecca
  • Sanguinetti, Angela
  • Squiers, Cassandra
  • Gannon, John
  • Rajukumar, Mukund
  • Donnelly, Kat A.
  • et al.

The Home Energy Management (HEM) market is rapidly expanding alongside substantial investments to improve energy efficiency and upgrade electricity infrastructure to a smart grid. These changes enable consumers to take greater control of their energy use, which can be enabled through the use of Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS).

HEMS can be broadly defined as those systems (including both hardware and software linked together via a network) that enable households to manage their energy consumption. This can be done in one (or both) of two ways: HEMS can provide energy consumers with information about how they use energy in the home and/or prompts to modify consumption. HEMS can provide the household (or third parties) the ability to control energy- consuming processes in the home, either remotely via a smart phone or web service or based on a set of rules, which can be scheduled or optimized based on user behavior. As such, HEMS enable the delivery of a wide range of both household and utility objectives around energy management, financial benefits, comfort and convenience, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, as well as to ensure access to a reliable energy supply.

The HEMS sector is growing rapidly, and at the time of writing this report, 12 distinct product types or categories that make up a home energy management system were identified. These fall into three groups: (1) user interfaces, (2) smart hardware, and (3) software platforms. The rapid expansion of the HEM market and the desire for increasing levels of interoperability between products and platforms has led to the emergence of new types of communication protocols and alliances based on these. Over the coming years, this may open up the opportunity for further engagement between manufacturer and a variety of developers to create fully integrated home management solutions that better meet the needs of customers.

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