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Systems Performance Laboratory

The Energy Systems Integration Facility's System Performance Laboratory is a one-of-a-kind testing space that connects appliances, a home, and even a community in an end-to-end energy ecosystem.

Photo of engineers working in the Systems Performance Laboratory.

Key Infrastructure and Services

  • 5,300 square-foot working space
  • Three residential mock homes, equipped with major appliances and other typical loads
  • Connections in each home for 120/240 volts of electric service, water, and natural gas
  • Residential advanced metering infrastructure and breaker panels with circuit-level power meters for each test home
  • Data acquisition and control systems to collect sensor data related to each appliance and to manage controls for simulated occupancy
  • Environmental chambers that can impose location-specific heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning loads through application of hardware-in-the-loop techniques
  • Distribution transformers, which allow mock homes to be connected and evaluated as a mini-neighborhood
  • Mock homes that incorporate distributed energy resources, including solar panels, electric vehicles, stationary batteries, and natural gas generators
  • Cyber-Physical Systems Security & Resilience testbed
  • Connection to other ESIF resources via ESIF's Research Electrical Distribution Bus (REDB) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system

Types of Research

  • Evaluation of connected appliances, advanced sensors and controls, and home energy management systems (HEMS) in collaboration with industry, academia, and other research stakeholders
  • Validation of the features, effectiveness, and energy savings of HEMS, nonintrusive load-monitoring systems, advanced sensors, and smart appliances
  • Exploration of different communication protocols, functionality, interoperability, and cybersecurity questions related to Internet of Things technologies prior to deployment
  • Optimization of controls for backup power and energy storage solutions, including batteries, generators, and fuel cells, to improve a home's resiliency
  • Evaluation of advanced algorithms for energy savings and new techniques for fault detection and diagnostics for buildings and systems
  • Hardware-in-the-loop evaluation capability, allowing researchers to implement hardware controls on residential loads in the lab and simulate impact on the distributed generation with NREL's high-performance computing capabilities
  • Innovation in advanced metering, residential batteries, and home energy management systems

Recent Projects

Validating Whisker Labs peel-and-stick submetering technology

Analyzing residential energy storage and sizing with Bosch and Bonneville Power Administration

Addressing the challenges of high-penetration PV on the grid with SolarCity and HECO

Evaluating cybersecurity for distributed energy resource technologies

Coordinating ARPA-E projects in electronics bay


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