Home energy management systems
Home energy management systems (HEMS) are becoming popular; one of the reasons for this development is the improvement of technology as well as small scale energy sources such as solar PV systems and smart home systems are becoming more viable. But what exactly are home energy management systems? Just like many terms there are conflicting descriptions of this concept, however all are in agreement that the system is necessary to ensure efficient consumption of energy.
One definition that is widely used describes home energy management systems as a technological platform which is comprised of two components, the hardware and software, each allowing the user to monitor energy production and consumption. This also involves manual control or automation of the energy consumption at the household level.
Hardware and software
Hardware components of the system consist of devices which relay communications between the user and the local utility. The hub is normally installed in an electrical board but at times it may be a virtual installation where HEMS operates on a wireless network. Other hardware components of the system includes smart plugs, sensors and smart devices at home.
The software which is used in the system monitors the data and communication. It acts as the interface which allows access to data monitoring as well as function control.
The interface is either an application or a web portal. In some systems, the software helps in increasing the effectiveness of energy or the efficiency of the appliances that are used at the household level; others focus on controlling the devices either for security or convenience purposes.
When it comes to monitoring, there are variations in the way data is displayed, this will depend on following: the devices which are on and the energy consumption of each, the smallest time increment to keep the system on track as well as the insights which are delivered by the system.
The control function of the system allows the user to perform a number of things which include: remotely turning the devices on and off, setting the devices in such a manner that they operate on schedules, setting up conditional rules for the operation of the devices and electric vehicle, managing the flow of energy, and allowing machine learning in order to take over and run the system.
HEMS can help manage three aspects of home energy namely electricity, solar PV, battery storage.
A home energy management system is an important component of home energy management for anyone who is looking for efficient and smart consumption of energy. Having it in place is not only a cost effective strategy but also ensures sustainable production and consumption of energy.