Here in Colorado, higher temperatures towards the end of May mean many people start switching on their air conditioners for the first time of the year. This increase in energy consumption as a result of air conditioning can create a great stress on the energy grid, causing energy companies to resort to rolling blackouts that are known to occur in Los Angeles, among other cities. The fact that energy companies are being forced to cut power supply to homes should be a major warning that energy consumption is too high, but so far there hasn’t been the necessary attention given to solving the problem of household energy overconsumption.
The growing consumption of energy from homes has increased as a result of more homes with air conditioning and the introduction of more energy intensive appliances to a greater number of homes throughout the US. During times of high energy use, typically the late afternoon and early evening hours of the day, many Americans come home and flip on their televisions, cook their food, wash their clothes, all while illuminating their homes when the sun goes down.
NREL’s work towards creating a smart and efficient electricity grid means better renewable energy integration and a reduction in wasted energy. By building these prototype smart homes, NREL is bringing solutions to the problem of energy overconsumption in the home.