Devices for Expressing Preferences in Energy Demand Management

Applications

This energy management device may be used in households with multiple appliances, apartment buildings and office buildings, or on campuses or within municipalities with multiple buildings operating under the same power grid.

Problem Addressed

Conventional energy demand management systems employ a centralized controller to control energy demand related to heating or cooling and use of appliances in a building. These systems have limited scalability since they employ a centralized controller for the entire controlled environment. As the control environment expands, more processing capabilities are needed at the controller which increase the cost of the management system. These systems also require extensive user involvement and maintenance.

Technology

This invention is a decentralized demand managing system which allows users to easily and effectively express their energy requirements and priorities. Users can categorize energy consuming appliances based on multiple levels of demand flexibility. An essential appliance, such as a life support medical device, would be assigned a category so that its power supply is always guaranteed. Meanwhile, a non-essential appliance such as decorative lighting may be categorized to save power when the power grid is under strain. The invention may be built or plugged into generic appliances to control power demand of the appliances or to measure power usages. A simple interface allows users to set the level of demand flexibility, and may override the assigned demand flexibility.

Advantages

  • Cost-effective control to save large amounts of energy while still assuring that users are never forced to give up energy demands unwillingly
  • Easily scalable with distributed control that responds to a network-wide demand-management request
  • Hands-off system without requiring constant maintenance, yet users can easily and naturally express energy requirements