Energy Management Expert Assistant, a New Concept
Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS)
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. IoT: Smart Devices
2.2. Big Data
2.3. Cloud Computing
- Reduction of costs and implementation times;
- Reduction of scalability problems in cases where the system must grow;
- The user can focus on the system’s functionality and not on the technical aspects of the infrastructure;
- Access to services from anywhere;
- System portability and protection against data loss. If the local system suffers damage or failure, the data or services in the cloud remain secure and loss-free;
- Transparent updates for the user, as long as the vendor maintains this commitment and the local system is not affected by version incompatibilities;
- Software installation is avoided or reduced;
- Local system requirements in terms of computational capacity are reduced. By deriving computing services and processes to the cloud, a lighter hardware system is required. This, in turn, leads to a benefit due to reducing local consumption by requiring equipment with lower performance;
- Security is often a critical factor in these services as providers can equip their systems with the latest technologies in the face of the limitations faced by a single user, both in terms of technological capacity and knowledge.
- Absolute dependence on the commitment or continuity of the service provider: discontinuity or modification of services may critically affect the HEMS system;
- Fixed fee for the use of the services;
- Lifetime dependence on external suppliers;
- Small systems are more vulnerable than more extensive infrastructures, especially concerning:
- Technical interruptions from suppliers, which are unavoidable and can occur at critical moments;
- More limited bargaining power, leading to limited customization;
- Dependence on external network access versus a HEMS system based on a local network isolated from the Internet;
- Aspects such as security, privacy, or confidentiality may be exposed or compromised.
2.4. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Expert System (ES), and Machine Learning (ML)
2.5. Virtual Assistant
2.6. Results from Knowledge
- Obtaining data to develop the best possible system for the objectives pursued;
- Cloud integration provides the system with scalable computational capacity, access and management of information flows, extension to big data analysis, AI, and ML;
- Usability: “Home” system of interaction with the user that allows triggering complex services from a simple and accessible functionality:
- Actions: Programming household appliances and devices. Presence detection and habit analysis;
- Warnings: Advice and recommendations for savings based on detected habits or pre-established patterns;
- Alerts and maintenance of equipment and appliances;
- Integration with voice technology.
- Measures to ensure user privacy and system security;
- Interoperability of electronic systems that allow the implementation of the integral model;
- System specifications to enhance efficient energy consumption management under IoT architecture;
- Estimated energy savings and user benefits. Differences between HERMES, HEMS systems, and a non-connected home.
3. Materials and Methods
3.1. Classification of Load Types
- Non-controllable loads. Their operation cannot be programmed, changed, or reprogrammed by a HEMS. They usually provide added value, and users control some of them. Televisions, stereos, computers, or appliances such as refrigerators or lighting without control systems fall into this category. Appliance standby would be included in this class;
- Controllable loads. The HEMS system has some control over them or through the user in a given time horizon. A traditional HEMS system could not control the loads through the user; in this regard, control is one of the contributions of the HERMES system. In turn, within this category, we can divide the loads into elastic or inelastic;
- Inelastic. Once initiated or required to operate, it must complete a full cycle;
- Uninterruptible loads. Once started, they must run a complete cycle continuously; only the corresponding start time can be programmed. In this category, we can find dishwashers, washing machines, or dryers, among other appliances;
- Interruptible loads. Once started, they can be interrupted but must be reconnected to complete the full cycle. These are usually constant-drain devices. Examples include plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and other rechargeable devices or external batteries, and the electric boiler;
- Elastic. Loads with the capacity to be able to adjust power consumption in the middle of an operation;
- Variable loads with alteration of comfort. Energy consumption can be adjusted in the middle of an operation but leads to loss of comfort and may require subsequent compensation. These are usually systems whose operation is maintained according to a reference defined by the residents, so their temporary variation by the HEMS may affect comfort. Ventilation, heating, or cooling are examples of this category;
- Variable loads without alteration of comfort. Energy consumption can be adjusted in the middle of an operation without significant loss of comfort or subsequent compensation. For example, dimming of artificial lighting by compensating with daylight.
3.2. The Preamble of the HERMES System
3.3. Deployment of the HERMES System and Involved Instruments
3.4. Programming and Multi-Objective Optimization (MOP) of the HERMES System
- = Energy consumed by the household in kWh during the hour of the day of the day of the tariff period PT;
- = Price in €/kWh of the hourly cost of energy term in each hour of the day of the day of the tariff period for the contracted tariff ();
3.4.2. Strategy for Comfort and Optimization
- The two main problems of the electric water heater are that it runs out of hot water or that it consumes at very high or non-optimal cost hours. In a traditional HEMS, this situation should penalize the overall comfort function, although it might not anticipate the problem or optimize consumption to the maximum. In our case, three groups of parameters have been created to optimize consumption and comfort, solving both problems. The first group selects the time slots in which the thermos flask is allowed to be turned on. The second group sets the temperature targets for each activation band. Finally, the third group adjusts the water heating curve. This third group is continuously adjusted thanks to the temperature sensor inside the tank and determines exactly how long it takes for the boiler to heat the water to the desired values. In this way, if very low temperatures are reached after use, the system responds by increasing the heating time and raising the maximum temperature of each range. The system adjusts these parameters automatically, ensuring the hot water supply and shifting the load to the optimal time slots (see Figure 8). However, residents can readjust the parameters to suit their comfort (maximum heating temperature and the number of heating hours). This set of parameters covers the complete characterization of the water heater, making it possible to cater for particular scenarios such as, for example, completely switching off the electric water heater during prolonged absences by disabling all operating slots, or from time to time run a heating cycle to 60–65 °C to eliminate possible Legionella outbreaks.
- For air conditioning, the HERMES system controls several parameters and employs the following strategy to optimize consumption and maintain comfort: after a certain time after switching on the climate, the system automatically lowers or raises the temperature to reduce consumption while maintaining comfort. The parameters used in this strategy are again three: initial temperature when the heating or cooling is turned on, the time in minutes until the system automatically applies the second temperature regulation (to reduce consumption and which could depend secondarily on other parameters such as outdoor temperature, indoor temperature or whether or not the residents come from outside), and finally, the third parameter would be the difference in degrees of the new temperature. The adjustment of the parameters is again dynamic depending on what the system requires and the residents’ preferences.
4.1. HERMES System Deployment and Infrastructure
4.2. Voice Assistant and Control Panel
4.3. Phases of Incorporation of HERMES System Functionalities and Change in Residents’ Habits
4.4. Net Load Displacement
- Savings-producing displacements: Above-average loads at economical hours or below-average loads at expensive hours;
- Commuting that does not produce savings: Below-average loads at inexpensive hours or above-average loads at expensive hours;
- Economic hours for the day 23 October 2020: 0 h–12 h and 23 h;
- Expensive hours for day 23 October 2020: 13 h–22 h.
4.5. Calculation of Balanced Savings Obtained by HERMES
4.6. Billing Expenses in Absolute Values without Balancing
4.7. Consumption Estimation (Machine Learning)
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Uncontrollable Loads||Controllable Loads|
|Uninterruptible Loads||Interruptible Loads||Variable Loads with Alteration of Comfort||Variable Loads without Altering Comfort|
|Television||Washing Machine||Electric Vehicle||Air Conditioning||Natural + artificial light|
|Sound equipment||Dishwasher||Phone Charger||Heating System||Automatic opening of windows|
|Computer||Dryer Machine||Battery/Energy Storage||Fan|
|Lighting||Water Pump (Well, Pool)|
|Standby||Vacuum Cleaner (robot)|
|Toaster, Blender, Kettle|
|Variable loads without altering comfort|
|Automatic opening of roller shutters—Automatic opening of roller shutters||●○ % of shutter opening.|
○ Activate or deactivate the automatic shutter opening control.
|●○ Normally residents will control the % opening of the blinds, but if automatic opening control is active, the system will open the blinds based on outside natural light and whether or not residents are present in the room.|
|Variable loads with alteration of comfort|
|■□ Climate control-Air Conditioning + Heating System||■□ On and off.|
□ Initial temperature
□ Time in minutes until the system automatically applies a second regulation.
□ Adjustment of the degree variation (+1, −1, +2, −2) for the second regulation.
■ Order of execution of the second regulation.
□ Annulment of the Order of execution of the second regulation.
■ Automatic shutdown in the absence of residents for more than a specified time.
|Residents set the temperature. The system resets the temperature (▲▼) after a few minutes to reduce consumption without affecting comfort.|
■ Automatic shutdown in case there is no resident in the house (thanks to the GPS tracking controlled by the System) or the presence detector in the room does not detect movement for more than 1 h.
|●○ Fan-Fan||●○ On and off.|
|●○ Usually, users will control its on, off, and power, but the system can turn it off or lower its power if the contracted consumption limit in the electricity tariff is exceeded.|
|■□ Stove-Stove||■□ On and off.|
|■□ Normally users will control its on, off, and power, but the system can turn it off if the contracted consumption limit in the electricity tariff is exceeded.|
|●○ Electric boiler||●○ On and off.|
●○ 6 + 1 operating time slots.
○ Temperature targets for each activation band.
●○ Adjusting the water heating curve.
● Observation of permanent consumption.
● Long-term disconnection
|●○ Absolute management of thermos operation by both residents and the system. |
● Switched off during prolonged periods of absence of residents (vacations). Switched back on several days before return.
|■□ Vacuum cleaner (robot)-Vacuum Cleaner (robot)||□ Switching on and off|
■ Recharge control
|■□ Normally users will control its power on and off, but a power-on time and recharge time can be programmed.|
|●○ Electric Vehicle|
●○ Battery-Energy Storage
●○ Water Pump (Well, Pool)
|●○ Recharge time (on/off).||●○ Recharging would take place at the cheapest hours. Note: Not applied or scheduled to the study dwelling in the article.|
|■□ Washing Machine||■□ Power-on time. |
■□ Permanent consumption observation.
|■□ Manual or system-programmed ignition at the cheapest time between 7:00 and 11:00 AM.|
|●○ Dishwasher-Dishwasher.||●○ Power-on time. |
●○ Permanent consumption observation.
|●○ Manual or system-programmed ignition at the cheapest time for the next 12 h (24 h).|
|■□ Dryer Machine||■□ Power-on time.||■□ Manual or system-programmed ignition. Note: Not applied or programmed to the study dwelling in the article.|
|■□ Oven||■□ Power-on time.||●○ Manual or system-programmed ignition Note: Not applied or programmed to the article study dwelling.|
●○ Sound equipment
●○ Light Spots/lighting.
●○ Vacuum Cleaner
●○ Cooker pot
●○ Cooker Hood
●○ Hair dryer
|○ On and off|
Observation of general consumption. Notification by the Assistant.
● Rate information to residents on an hourly, strip, and daily basis.
|○ Manual switching on and off by residents. |
● Warning of excessive consumption (via Assistant and Telegram) in the absence of residents or exceeding the contracted power limit.
● Notification (via Wizard, Telegram, and control panel) of the electricity tariff.
|Variable loads without altering comfort|
|Automatic opening of roller shutters-Automatic opening of roller shutters||WiFi shutter switch||Allows raising and lowering of blinds with percentage function by programming|
|Variable loads with alteration of comfort|
|Air Conditioning-Air Conditioning + Heating System||Universal Remote Control with WiFi and IR. Programmable.|
Temperature sensor in the room
Presence sensor in the room
System consumption sensor
|Thanks to the controller, the System controls all the functions of the Air Conditioning and Heating System. |
The temperature, presence, and consumption sensor allows the system to perform a secondary adjustment.
|Fan-Fan||IoT built-in from the factory||It is linked to the Assistant and the system for voice control and automation.|
|Stove-Stove||WiFi Smart Plug||On/off control.|
|Electric water heater||WiFi Smart Plug with consumption and power measurement.|
Wifi temperature sensor inside the water tank.
|The system controls the on, off, and actual temperature of the water in the tank.|
|Vacuum Cleaner (robot)-Vacuum Cleaner (robot)||Factory-integrated IoT.|
WiFi Smart Plug.
|The system (or residents) can activate and deactivate it.|
The optimal recharging time is programmed via the smart plug.
|Washing Machine||WiFi Smart Plug with consumption and power measurement.||After being manually programmed, the System (or the residents) decides the switch-on time.|
|Dishwasher-Dishwasher||WiFi Smart Plug with consumption and power measurement.|
Door opening sensor.
|After being manually programmed, the System (or the residents) decides the switch-on time.|
|-||Manual turn-on and turn-off by residents. |
-Warning of excessive consumption (via Assistant and Telegram) in case of absence of residents or exceeding the contracted power limit.
-Notification (via Wizard, Telegram, and control panel) of the electricity tariff.
(Residents Request Information/System Informs about Triggering Events)
|“turn on/off/regulate device”||Residents/System||Residents control more than 80 functions (turn on, turn off, raise the temperature by one degree) of the different devices connected in the home. In some cases, the system detects that a device has been switched on so that under certain conditions, it acts automatically to reduce consumption while maintaining comfort (e.g., it raises the cooling temperature by one degree after a few minutes of operation).|
|“price”, “power”, “consumption”, “daily consumption”, “cheapest washing machine/hour”...||Residents||Residents can ask at any time for data related to consumption and expenditure: Price or active power being consumed at that moment to know the impact of connected appliances, the next cheapest hours, the accumulated consumption per hour, daily or monthly.|
|“room temperature”, “outside temperature”, “thermos temperature”, “probability of rain”....||Residents can know the data from the sensors connected in the house through the voice assistant or the probability of rain to make decisions based on these conditions and the electricity tariff to reduce consumption and maintain comfort.|
|“Departure or arrival home” (GPS + ping Wifi + door sensor).||System||The system detects if a Resident arrives or leaves the house by issuing a welcome message or checking if there are devices or unwanted presences.|
|“Power warnings”||System||The System monitors the active power level, informing Residents if the contracted power limit is reached or exceeds 105%, which would incur penalties.|
|“Price and consumption/expense notices”||System||The System reports at each start of a time slot with a different energy price, except during night hours (peak, flat or off-peak). In the event of higher or lower than expected consumption, the reports and responses to automatic warnings and queries made by the Residents to the Assistant are modified.|
|“Notices on ways to save”||Residents/System||A compendium of tips with saving techniques. The advice offered is random unless an inappropriate use of an appliance is detected (e.g., forced turning on of the electric boiler or continued use of the washing machine during peak rate hours). The system has a calendar, so some responses and warnings change depending on whether it is a national holiday or a weekend, or if adverse weather conditions are expected, or a very high consumption prediction estimated by ML.|
|“Text-to-speech and social networks”||Residents/System||Residents can send any command to the Assistant through their mobile application by voice commands or by text through social networks that the Assistant receives and executes. The System uses social networks to send text and text-to-speech messages to Residents with the help of the Assistant.|
|Incorporation of HERMES System Functionalities|
|P1||First||31-03-2019 to 26-10-2019||Consumption information wizard|
|P2||Second||04-11-2019 to 28-03-2020||Consumption management and load shifting (electric boiler and washing machine). Change of optimal electricity tariff for the HERMES system.|
|P3||Third||29-03-2020 to 06-02-2021||Load shifting (dishwasher) and cooling temperature control|
|Billing Periods (Day-Month-Year)||Modeling||Real|
|P0 and P1|
|P0 and P1|
|Invoiced 1 |
|Invoice 15: 09-03-2019 to 07-04-2019||44.22||40.52||44.26||2.0A|
|Invoice 16: 07-04-2019 to 07-05-2019||41.18||37.70||40.38||2.0A|
|Invoice 17: 08-05-2019 to 07-06-2019||41.08||37.57||40.78||2.0A|
|Invoice 18: 08-06-2019 to 06-07-2019||37.03||33.85||36.91||2.0A|
|Invoice 19: 07-07-2019 to 05-08-2019||35.71||32.75||35.05||2.0A|
|Invoice 20: 06-08-2019 to 06-09-2019||60.18||54.78||60.19||2.0A|
|Invoice 21: 07-09-2019 to 06-10-2019||37.91||34.53||37.67||2.0A|
|Invoice 22: 07-10-2019 to 03-11-2019||31.15||28.44||30.78||2.0A|
|Subtotal before Hermes (€)||328.46||300.14||326.02|
|HERMES system implementation|
|Invoice 23: 04-11-2019 to 09-12-2019||50.77||46.41||38.54||2.0DHA|
|Invoice 24: 10-12-2019 to 09-01-2020||49.25||44.50||36.99||2.0DHA|
|Invoice 25: 10-01-2020 to 07-02-2020||55.93||50.82||43.51||2.0DHA|
|Invoice 26: 08-02-2020 to 07-03-2020||39.82||35.86||28.50||2.0DHA|
|Invoice 27: 08-03-2020 to 10-04-2020||42.40||37.92||30.76||2.0DHA|
|Invoice 28: 11-04-2020 to 09-05-2020||27.74||24.36||18.38||2.0DHA|
|Invoice 29: 10-05-2020 to 06-06-2020||30.37||26.99||22.54||2.0DHA|
|Invoice 30: 07-06-2020 to 06-07-2020||35.95||32.25||30.56||2.0DHA|
|Invoice 31: 07-07-2020 to 08-08-2020||61.84||55.78||50.49||2.0DHA|
|Invoice 32: 09-08-2020 to 06-09-2020||45.00||40.73||39.57||2.0DHA|
|Invoice 33: 07-09-2020 to 06-10-2020||42.19||38.33||32.53||2.0DHA|
|Invoice 34: 07-10-2020 to 08-11-2020||40.75||36.91||29.62||2.0DHA|
|Invoice 35: 09-11-2020 to 07-12-2020||50.53||46.15||30.89||2.0DHA|
|Invoice 36: 08-12-2020 to 11-01-2021||89.31||82.04||74.02||2.0DHA|
|Invoice 37: 12-01-2021 to 06-02-2021||59.28||54.56||40.56||2.0DHA|
|Data from 04-11-2019 to 06-02-2021:|
|Average energy billed per month (€)||48.08||43.57||36.50|
|Average monthly savings (%)||24.08%||16.24%|
|Average monthly savings (€)||11.58||7.08|
|Monthly savings with taxes (€)||14.73||9.00|
|Average daily savings (€)||0.3859||0.2359|
|Daily with taxes (€)||0.4909||0.3000|
|Month||Billed Monthly Energy (kWh)|
|Total per year (kWh)||6346||5211||5644|
|Variation compared to 2018||0||−1135||−702|
|Variation compared to 2018 (%)||0%||−17.88%||−11.06%|
|Annual invoice (€)||1387.16||1082.32||801.19|
|Variation € compared to 2018 (%)||0%||−21.98%||−42.24%|
|Month||Monthly Amount (€)|
|Total per year (€)||1387.16||1082.32||801.19|
|Variation compared to 2018||0||−304.84||−585.97|
|Variation compared to 2018 (%)||0%||−21.98%||−42.24%|
|Annual energy billed (kWh)||6346||5211||5644|
|Variation kWh/year compared to 2018 (%)||0%||−17.88%||−11.06%|
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Linan-Reyes, M.; Garrido-Zafra, J.; Gil-de-Castro, A.; Moreno-Munoz, A. Energy Management Expert Assistant, a New Concept. Sensors 2021, 21, 5915. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21175915
Linan-Reyes M, Garrido-Zafra J, Gil-de-Castro A, Moreno-Munoz A. Energy Management Expert Assistant, a New Concept. Sensors. 2021; 21(17):5915. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21175915Chicago/Turabian Style
Linan-Reyes, Matias, Joaquin Garrido-Zafra, Aurora Gil-de-Castro, and Antonio Moreno-Munoz. 2021. "Energy Management Expert Assistant, a New Concept" Sensors 21, no. 17: 5915. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21175915