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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Toward Resource Efficient Homes: From Measurements to Sustainable Choices


The average person is currently unaware of the real-time energy consumption for the different household appliances that he uses. At best, he can observe the monthly or bi-monthly bill indicating the total power consumption of all the appliances combined. This makes it difficult to improve the consumption efficiency, since there is no visibility in the data that he can access. We believe that real-time appliance level monitoring is necessary to allow residents to manage their energy consumption efficiently. However, monitoring end-point level power consumption is difficult to impossible with current technologies because expensive sensors, or professionally installation is necessary. In addition, device aesthetic and the inherent intrusiveness of direct in-line sensors to measure the energy usage at every end-point complicate such a system installation. Since appliances emit measurable signals when they are consuming resources, we argue that less-invasive sensors can be used for inferring real-time resource consumption. However, indirect sensors cannot be calibrated during manufacturing because of varying ambient conditions. Thus, the main challenge becomes to provide a method that autonomously calibrates the sensors. We seek to develop an easy and self-configurable monitoring system for very fine grained resource monitoring in residential spaces.

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