The Emporia Smart Energy Home System

Posted by Danielle Sandusky on

The transition to clean energy is well underway. Energy generation through solar and wind are higher than ever. Homes are getting more efficient by the day. And our automobiles are being electrified, powered by battery technology that can be used to store the energy we produce and even help run our homes.

Combined with smart home technology we can increase electrical grid resiliency and reduce home energy costs by 50% or more!

As an existing customer, we love that you have chosen to be an early adopter of ways to transition to cleaner energy by taking control of how your household consumes electricity.

We’re proud of the technology we’ve been able to offer you and excited about the great things we’ve got coming.

Here’s our vision of what the Emporia Smart Energy Home System will look like with all the options that will be available to you.

Aligning Energy Use and Production

It’s important to first understand that home energy use typically grows throughout the day. A spike happens first thing in the morning after waking up, taking our hot showers, and making our coffee and breakfasts. Another much larger energy use peak occurs later in the day after getting home from work, running our clothes dryers and dishwashers, and sitting down to watch Netflix.

Typical energy use in the home looks something like this:

Daily Energy consumption

However, the production of renewable energy throughout the day looks quite different. Solar energy, for example, peaks at mid-day when the sun’s rays are the strongest and our energy use is lower.

Daily Solar Energy Production

Wind, on the other hand, is much less predictable and often blows stronger at night when we are sleeping and energy usage is already at its lowest. 

daily wind power generation

This mismatch is a challenge for electric utilities who are experimenting with setting electricity rates that can balance the above competing forces - our consumption needs vs. renewable energy production. One method being experimented with is time of use pricing which attempts to resolve these two curves by incenting consumers to spread out their energy consumption. This is done by charging different rates for energy consumption depending on the time of day.

time of use electric rates

Looking at this graphic you can see that utility companies charge the most for usage in the evenings when renewable energy production is at its lowest. Conversely, this is when household energy consumption is at its highest.

Which means there’s a great challenge and incredible opportunity to facilitate the clean energy transition by using smart home technology to fill this gap.

Our System

Let us introduce you to the Emporia Smart Energy Home.

smart energy home system

The Emporia Smart Energy Home system includes the Emporia Platform (Vue Whole Home and Utility Connect), Emporia Smart Outlets and Emporia EV Charger.

How does the system work?

  1. The Emporia monitor collects data in real time, either wirelessly from the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) smart meter, or by measuring current flow through circuits at the breaker box. The information is displayed in an easy to read chart on the Emporia app.
  2. Emporia’s proprietary software integrates rate information from the local utility and electricity use information to determine how best to shift demand closer to the electricity production peaks, and thus the lowest prices available.
  3. In order to shift the electricity demand and save the customer money, signals are sent to devices that control the home’s energy use such as:
    1. Thermostats
    2. Water heaters
    3. Appliances
    4. Smart Outlets
    5. Electric Vehicle chargers

Here’s how information shared by Emporia’s Smart Energy Home System helps regulate energy use:

Thermostats control the largest use of energy in the home, heating and air conditioning. When energy rates are high, a signal will be sent instructing the device to back off climate control until the peak has passed.

Water heaters can maintain hot water in their tanks for a full day and can be timed to fire and heat water when rates are most favorable.

Clothes dryers, dishwashers and other appliances can be controlled either directly by the consumer when they know rates are lower (such as in the morning) or through smart outlets to run at the optimal time when energy prices are lowest. 

Smart outlets can be programmed to respond to electricity price fluctuations by turning on and off current to lighting, small appliances and other devices either on a timer or directly by the consumer in response to rate changes. 

EV chargers will soon be our home's largest energy consumer and can be set to charge at an optimal time (like during the night) to get the lowest cost per mile possible for your electric car.

All of this combines to create a true smart energy home system that reduces demand by identifying and managing wasted energy and reduces cost by shifting demand to low price times of the day. Here’s an example of how your Emporia app will respond in a situation:

“Emporia has noticed your oven has been on for more than two hours, would you like Emporia to turn it off for you?”

Emporia also manages “time of use” to shift your usage to times when renewable energy is high, demand is low and there is money to be saved.  Think about it this way - we flatten your demand curve!

From this: 

daily energy use

To this:

daily energy use flattened

Emporia’s Smart Energy Home saves you money and helps you do your part in creating a healthier planet. 

But that’s not all!

Coming Soon...

In the not-too-distant future, home batteries and vehicle to grid (V2G) EV charging solutions will give us the ability to store electricity from the grid when it is cheapest during peak solar and wind production times. That electricity, stored in your home or car battery, is then used during high demand times when rates are the most expensive. 

grid neutral energy use

This stored energy will power the home throughout the day. It will be optimized and sent to appliances as needed without any need to draw from the grid at traditional high-demand times.

Imagine having a system that manages the home’s energy use without any special knowledge or intervention from the customer.

That’s truly a Smart Energy Home!

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