by Jeff Kuykendall, product manager, Eaton
Electrical energy management systems help homeowners see their consumption, recognize ways to reduce usage, and track changes over time to ensure peak system efficiency. An accurate view of your home’s complete energy system can identify opportunities to manage energy and bring about real, positive sustained change.
Here are three ways energy management systems can help to reduce your consumption at home:
1. Develop a baseline. Electrical energy management systems don’t reduce consumption on their own, but provide the data to allow a homeowner to make smart choices once a homeowner is aware of current consumption—both kilowatt (kW) usage and monthly cost. An energy management system can provide data to help them make actionable decisions to save energy.
Facing high energy bills, a consumer might choose to invest in more efficient components by upgrading appliances, replacing windows, or installing light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures. These changes can certainly reduce energy consumption, but without accurate information about where you started, it is difficult to determine which changes make an impact.
2. Operational efficiency. What equipment needs to be running all day? What can be shut off or turned down to reduce consumption? Electrical energy management helps homeowners determine the big loads, so decisions can be made about what changes can be made. Some of the biggest loads in residential settings tend to be appliances like clothes dryers or refrigerators. Unplugging your refrigerator, of course, is not a practical way to reduce energy. However, switching to a clothesline for a few laundry loads a month, or only charging your electric vehicle (EV) during off-peak hours might be.
3. Turning actions into dollars. You switched to a clothesline for a month—so what? Electrical energy management systems help show actions turned into dollars, arming you with information to balance comfort, consumption and cost.
Air conditioning is a great example of this balance. Even the most efficient systems are load-heavy, and adjusting the temperature as little as one degree can make a difference. EV chargers, too, are among the heavier loads found in residential settings, and adjusting when chargers are in use can help reduce the cost per kW. Recognizing your savings for each adjustment may help a household find balance between conscientious energy consumption and relief from the summer heat.
Most electrical energy management systems are employed in conjunction with photovoltaic (PV) systems, allowing homeowners to monitor performance and determine return on investment. Even in a traditionally powered home, managing energy can bring about significant savings—with a bird’s eye view of the system, homeowners can make sure the steps they take to reduce consumption have the intended impact—reducing costs and improving efficiency.