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Managing Residential Energy Use and Costs with foresee Text Version

This is the text-only version of a video describing foresee, a home energy management system developed at NREL, that can coordinate energy use in homes by managing connected appliances and systems based on user preferences.

foresee Overview:

While many people are interested in saving energy and money in their homes, not every homeowner is the same. Personal preferences, drivers, and daily schedules are different for every household.

To account for these differences, researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have developed foresee, a technology that takes personal habits and priorities into account and automatically creates energy-saving scenarios homeowners can comfortably live with while enabling participation in utility programs like demand-response.

Initializing Preferences:

When setting up foresee, the zip code is entered so the system can tap into different locational information, including weather and utility costs. Next, the user enters:

  • The ideal temperature the house should be kept at during the day and night, including the maximum temperature the user can bear.
  • The length of the shower the user wants to take and the average hot water temperature.

Then the user enters their preferences, ranked by importance:

  • Comfortable air temperature
  • Clean clothes when needed
  • Clean dishes when needed
  • Plenty of hot water
  • Saving money
  • Emitting less pollution.

foresee uses this data to inform its model predictive control mechanism to coordinate all the connected home appliances.

foresee's interface outlines what's happening behind the system, including the status of the connected appliances, carbon savings, and indoor/outdoor temperatures. Users can also conveniently manage their appliances or update their preferences from the home screen, as needed.

foresee in Action:

NREL's test home includes connected, controllable appliances: a dishwasher, clothes washer, dryer, and refrigerator. There is a communicating electric water heater and the air conditioner with a smart thermostat. The home also includes a home battery and a rooftop solar array.

In this demonstration, a demand-response event occurs. foresee receives a signal from the utility in advance, causing the system to automatically prepare the home to be off-grid for a time. foresee charges the home battery via the PV array initially, and then ramps up to power everything in the house, including lighting and miscellaneous loads. This keeps all the home's loads close to zero, balancing energy generation and demand.

White Line = The Home's Power Needs
Red Line = Home Battery Power
Green Line = PV Array Power

By anticipating such events, foresee allows individuals to seamlessly take advantage of financial incentives without sacrificing comfort, all while helping their utility maintain a safe, reliable, and cost-effective power grid.