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Low-cost Appliance State Sensing for Energy Disaggregation


Fine-grained per appliance electrical energy consumption data is crucial to electrical energy conservation. However, energy meters are installed at few central points in buildings, providing only aggregated energy consumption data. Therefore, people are seeking ways to get disaggregated energy information. A key issue and most challenging problem in energy disaggregation is to know the power state of each appliance. We design a sensing system that can reliably keep track of the binary (on-off) states of appliances.

In our system, the sensors are designed to be deployed at each appliance. However, we are able to minimize the hardware requirements so that the sensors are inherently low-cost. The whole system is totally affordable for large scale deployment. The evaluation shows that, despite the simplicity of hardware, the system can keep track of the power state of tens of appliances at 99.5% precision and recall with a single base station. We also propose an energy disaggregation approach, based on the information our sensor network provides combined with central power meter readings.

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