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Is disaggregation the holy grail of energy efficiency? The case of electricity

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

Energy Policy, Volume 52, p.213-234 (2013)

ISBN:

0301-4215

URL:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421512007446

Keywords:

Disaggregation, energy efficiency, Smart meter

Abstract:

This paper aims to address two timely energy problems. First, significant low-cost energy reductions can be made in the residential and commercial sectors, but these savings have not been achievable to date. Second, billions of dollars are being spent to install smart meters, yet the energy saving and financial benefits of this infrastructure – without careful consideration of the human element – will not reach its full potential. We believe that we can address these problems by strategically marrying them, using disaggregation. Disaggregation refers to a set of statistical approaches for extracting end-use and/or appliance level data from an aggregate, or whole-building, energy signal. In this paper, we explain how appliance level data affords numerous benefits, and why using the algorithms in conjunction with smart meters is the most cost-effective and scalable solution for getting this data. We review disaggregation algorithms and their requirements, and evaluate the extent to which smart meters can meet those requirements. Research, technology, and policy recommendations are also outlined.