With sensors and smart devices increasingly become affordable, the smart home has steadily reshaped the modern household.
One feature found in the modern household that is revolutionising the energy measurement and efficiency of a household are the Home energy management systems (HEMS) that allow homeowners to record, measure and act on their billing in a ‘smart’ way.
Energy Management Systems for smart homes can track and record the usage of electricity of a household through an installed device in the property. The device, often called a smart plug, once installed, can read, record and send the electricity usage through its embedded firmware.
For the homeowner, they can track the energy consumption recorded by HEMS through a mobile application or a customer portal. HEMS providers bundle up the device with a companion app and an online portal where the homeowner can securely login and read the energy consumption report.
From the report, homeowners can see the statistics that are visualised in easy to read graphs and charts for their energy rate of consumption. There, they can see the date and which appliance consumes the most electricity.
Through this information, homeowners are given real insight on how efficient or inefficient their energy management at home and make decisions that lead to the cost cutting of their energy billing.
This year, electricity rates have gone up by as much as 20 per cent in the states of New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia. Traditionally, when energy prices go up, homeowners are advised to find ways to cut their electricity consumption by replacing old appliances or drastically reduce the use of power hungry appliances like computers.
With the concept of smart homes and its byproduct such as the home energy management system, homeowners get real insights on which appliances consume the most electricity, the spikes on their energy consumption and have access to system intelligent reports that recommend ways for them to cut their overall energy consumption.
The concept of HEMS empowers homeowners to see the real contributors to a high electricity bill and moving forward, can equip themselves with the knowledge on how to save up on energy consumption.
Energy management systems can also be integrated with solar powered homes. It allows similar readings of accurate energy consumption rate if your home is powered by solar PV systems. For homes that run a hybrid setup of electricity and solar batteries, HEMS can track both energy sources and their respective rates of consumption. This allows homeowners to make smarter decisions on how to efficiently utilise their alternating sources of power.
Home Energy Management Systems are often mistakenly identified as Home Automation Systems (HAS). While both HEMS and HAS operate on the concept of the Internet of Things where smart devices all operate and communicate wirelessly under a networked connection, HEMS and HAS have their principle of distinction:
HEMS can operate in concert with the home automation system. This means that smart plug devices that are under a HEMS platform can fit with your home automation system currently in place.
Basing on a recent study published by RMIT, homeowners who are migrating to a home automation setup may find their electricity usage spike due to the “getting to know” phase of the project. Homeowners may experiment or even lose track of their home automation programming and fail to adjust the automation programming.
Example is the HVAC system which can be automated through remote access. This means homeowners can turn on and off the HVAC before arriving home. When homeowners lose track of time and adjust the schedule programming of their automated HVAC, automation can cause higher energy bills.
This is where HEMS and can help homeowners who now have HAS installed on their premise. HEMS can accurately measure the efficiency and rate of consumption by each smart device, giving homeowners the information needed to adjust the HAS program in order to increase its overall energy efficiency.
This spring, if you are a homeowner who wants to spring clean your energy consumption, HEMS is the practical way in knowing how you can accurately cut down your energy bills. For homeowners who are planning to transition to a home automation setup, HEMS can help you program the best energy efficiency scenarios for your soon to be automated home.