Having significantly reduced our heat consumption and initiated our own electricity generation and storage, our next step was to optimise our energy use. Despite the proliferation of smart devices and applications designed to manage energy consumption, we found that the overall ecosystem was somewhat challenging to navigate and integrate. Nevertheless, optimisation using these devices and software can significantly improve energy management and further reduce consumption, if implemented effectively.
A vital piece of our energy management puzzle is a smart car charger that optimises electric vehicle charging based on when our solar PV system is generating power. Beyond this, we have several smart devices in place that adapt behaviour based on different conditions, leading to enhanced energy efficiency. For instance, we’ve integrated smart energy-efficient lighting, smart thermostatic devices for hot water and heating that can modulate their operations during periods of excess energy demand. We also have devices capable of shifting loads to different times. Our air source heat pump is “smart grid ready,” signalling it can interact with the grid intelligently and respond to changes in demand and supply.
The Challenge of Manual Optimisation:
Despite the prevalence of smart devices and applications, we encountered challenges due to the lack of common standards and integration across these technologies. The elusive Home Energy Management System that could seamlessly integrate the various technologies seemed almost like a pipe dream. As a result, manual optimisation has become an unexpected part of our daily routine, with several applications for different devices like the immersion heater and lighting. Setting timers for high-energy-use devices like washing machines is also part of this process.
On a positive note, the wealth of energy devices and applications available holds the potential for significant energy optimisation. My wife and I challenge ourselves to coordinate our own consumption throughout the day and night to use our own solar generation and import as little electricity from the grid. Timers on washing machines and white goods and optimised lights, water heating and EV charging all contributes to significantly lower electric bills. However, integration still remains a significant hurdle due to the current immaturity of interoperability standards. While the financial incentive for making small individual changes might seem minimal, the cumulative effect of these changes can lead to considerable system-wide savings. Without enhanced standardisation and simplified user experience, uptake and use of these technologies could stagnate. To date, a comprehensive home energy management system that brings together a substantial portion of these devices remains elusive.
LINK: Digitalisation of the grids are a large part of what the company I work for looks at as part of the necessary modernisation that will come in the coming years. Grid Modernization | Energy | Charles River Associates (crai.com)