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SmartCap: Flattening peak electricity demand in smart homes

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5 Author(s)
Barker, S. ; Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA ; Mishra, A. ; Irwin, D. ; Shenoy, P.
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Flattening household electricity demand reduces generation costs, since costs are disproportionately affected by peak demands. While the vast majority of household electrical loads are interactive and have little scheduling flexibility (TVs, microwaves, etc.), a substantial fraction of home energy use derives from background loads with some, albeit limited, flexibility. Examples of such devices include A/Cs, refrigerators, and dehumidifiers. In this paper, we study the extent to which a home is able to transparently flatten its electricity demand by scheduling only background loads with such flexibility. We propose a Least Slack First (LSF) scheduling algorithm for household loads, inspired by the well-known Earliest Deadline First algorithm. We then integrate the algorithm into Smart-Cap, a system we have built for monitoring and controlling electric loads in homes. To evaluate LSF, we collected power data at outlets, panels, and switches from a real home for 82 days. We use this data to drive simulations, as well as experiment with a real testbed implementation that uses similar background loads as our home. Our results indicate that LSF is most useful during peak usage periods that exhibit “peaky” behavior, where power deviates frequently and significantly from the average. For example, LSF decreases the average deviation from the mean power by over 20% across all 4-hour periods where the deviation is at least 400 watts.

Published in:

Pervasive Computing and Communications (PerCom), 2012 IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

19-23 March 2012