Smart Home Energy Assistant
Written by Sebastian Feuerstack
October 4th, 2015

Smart Home Energy AssistantThe economical usage of primary energy today is one of the most emphatically discussed subjects and will in the future more than ever impact development of new technologies. The Smart Home Energy Assistant (SHEA) is an accomplishment of the SerCHo-Project to give direction to the reduction of in-house energy consumption. Contrary to attempting to improve the energy related physics of buildings and appliances, the core idea of SHEA is to make energy consumption more transparent to the user and to enhance energy relevant in-house processes in an integrated, intelligent and – as far as desirable – automated way, with respect to interdependencies between the various electrical appliances, heating and airing.

Prototype of a smart energy monitoring plugThe SHEA provides numerous metering capabilities and a freely configurable rule base for the automatic optimization of energy usage. Within the Smart Metering functionality, the SHEA monitors all appliances connected to the home server where the service is installed and records consumption data. The Metering supports already accepted protocols, such as Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), ZigBee, and DigitalSTROM that have been enhanced by profiles to communication energy consumptions. As one part of the project a prototype of a smart energy monitoring plug has been developed that can communicate the energy consumption in real-time as well as switch appliances or dim lights.

The metering data can be visualized in consumption graphs over a user-defined period of time. In a clear fashion, the user can comprehend and trace energy usage of each appliance or appliance group, which may e.g. be all electrical devices in a specific room. This data can well be used as a basis for future decisions concerning for example replacement of old or energy-hungry devices, modification of personal behavior or configuration of SHEA automation rules.

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The powerful SHEA rule engine facilitates automation of in-house processes with any degree of complexity. Basic rules that are composed of a “if/when-component” or precondition and a “then-component” the result as in “If no one is in the living room-turn off all lights in the living room!” can be implemented by the user via the SHEA user interface as quick and simple as complex, context sensitive automations. The latter may simultaneously refer to various preconditions from e.g. the time- and localization-domain and may furthermore include identification of inhabitants, the actual overall energy-consumption and third party information.

The SHEA is capable of learning from the past and proactive advise the user of where energy saving potentials in his household are at hand. Like all SerCHo Services, the SHEA provides a multi-modal user interface granting a high degree of front end ergonomics. Energy saving potentials are conveniently and with respect to the many energy relevant interdependencies, pooled together and formerly lost energy is economized.

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