The Emporia Smart Energy Home System

The Emporia Smart Energy Home System

865 472 Jim Fouch

We spend a lot of time thinking about energy and energy costs at Emporia. We think about renewable energy sources, energy storage, and energy demand. So, we’re building an Emporia Smart Energy Home System that uses all of these things to help you save on energy costs.

The clean energy transition is well underway. Energy generation through solar and wind are higher than ever. Homes have become more efficient by the day. Our cars have become electrified. We can use vehicles powered by battery technology to store generated energy and help run our homes. We can combine these things with smart home technology to increase electrical grid resilience and reduce home energy costs by 50% or more! This is possible through knowledge of how energy is consumed and billed, and by giving the Emporia Smart Energy Home System a try.

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 in the near future.

Aligning Energy Use and Production

It’s important to understand that home energy use typically grows throughout the day. First, homes typically have low usage at night. Then, a spike happens first thing in the morning when we awake. This happens when we take hot showers, and make our coffee and breakfasts. Next, another much larger energy use peak occurs later in the day after getting home from work. This is when we’re cooking dinner, running our clothes dryers and dishwashers, and watching Netflix.

Typical average daily energy demand
Typical average daily energy demand

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.

Typical average daily energy demand plus solar generation
Typical average daily energy demand plus solar generation

On the other hand, wind is much less predictable. It often blows stronger at night when we are sleeping and energy use is at its lowest.

Typical average daily demand plus solar and wind generation
Typical average daily energy demand plus solar and wind generation

Some Utilities Match Rates with Demand

This is a challenge for electric utilities who are experimenting with setting electricity rates trying to balance the above forces. They understand that our consumption needs don’t occur at the same time as renewable energy production. One method utilities use is time-of-use (TOU) pricing. TOU gives an incentive to consumers to spread out when they consume. They do this by charging different rates for energy use depending on the time of day.

Typical average daily energy demand plus combined renewables over Time-of-Use
Typical average daily energy demand plus combined renewables over Time-of-Use

Looking at the graphic above, notice utilities charge the most for usage in the evenings. This is when renewable energy production is at its lowest. Unfortunately, this is when household energy consumption is at its highest.

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

The Emporia Smart Energy Home System

Let us introduce you to the Emporia Smart Energy Home.

The Emporia Smart Energy Home platform consists of the Emporia Energy Monitor (Vue Whole Home or Utility Connect), Emporia Smart Outlets (coming summer 2020) and the Emporia Electric Vehicle Charger (coming winter 2020). 

How Will the System Work?

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 Emporia app displays this information in an easy to read chart.

  1. Soon, Emporia’s software will use rate info from your utility along with your energy use data. This information will determine how best to shift demand closer to the electricity production peaks. Therefore, you’ll pay the lowest price available for your energy.
  2. In order to shift the electricity demand and save you money, the Emporia system will control energy use. We will do it through:
    1. Thermostats
    2. Water heaters
    3. Appliances
    4. Smart Outlets
    5. Electric Vehicle chargers
The Emporia Smart Energy Home System
The Emporia Smart Energy Home System

How Will Emporia Help Control my Usage?

Here is our vision. We plan to integrate the Emporia Smart Energy Home System with other smart home appliances and equipment to help you curb demand and save on energy costs.

Thermostats control the largest use of energy in the home, heating and air conditioning. When energy rates are high, the system will tell 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 home technology to run at the optimal time when energy prices are lowest. 

Smart outlets can respond to electricity price fluctuations. They can turn 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. Emporia will ensure it is charging at the optimal time (like during the night) to get the lowest cost per mile possible for your electric car.

Emporia Will Help Flatten Your Demand Curve

All of this combines to create a true smart energy home system. This system will reduce demand by identifying and managing wasted energy. It will also reduce 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 will also manage “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 will flatten your demand curve!

High demand before the Emporia Smart Energy Home System
High demand without the Emporia Smart Energy Home System
Flattened demand with the Emporia Smart Energy Home System

Emporia’s Smart Energy Home System will save you money and help you do your part in creating a healthier planet. 

But that’s not all!

Coming Soon…

Finally, 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. They will do this when energy is cheapest during peak solar and wind production times. Then, the electricity stored in your home or car battery is used during high demand times when rates are the most expensive.

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.

This is Emporia’s plan for the future: 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!