The home energy monitoring pros at Sense analyzed energy data in 1,100 homes in California to show how people use electricity in the critical evening hours from 6 to 8 pm when power generation from renewable sources like solar drops nearly to zero. Using anonymized data from the homes, the analysis examined “shiftable” versus “non-shiftable” data and found that 55% of electricity usage in the evening time frame could be shifted to other times during the day or reduced. The data was collected from July 10 to August 18.
The analysis also looked at the kinds of appliances and devices in use during that time that could be adjusted or rescheduled in order to reduce energy usage. It found that 88% of consumption came from air conditioning systems. The remainder of shiftable energy included water heaters, laundry machines (washers and dryers), pool pumps and EV chargers, all of which could be turned off or used at other times of the day or night.
To help prevent rolling blackouts, California residents can turn up their thermostats throughout the day or cool their home earlier in the day when renewable energy is abundant on the grid and then turn up the thermostat during the evening hours.
In the future, the electricity grid will be connected to peoples’ homes and automatically control loads in response to high demand, but today’s smart home technology, like the Sense Home Energy Monitor, already provides insights to consumers that can prompt them to reduce or shift consumption when energy supplies are constrained, reducing the risk of rolling blackouts. Sense is working with partners Schneider Electric and Landis+Gyr to build its intelligence into smarter, more efficient homes that respond to peoples’ day-to-day needs while optimizing energy from the grid to reduce costs and carbon.
— Solar Builder magazine