Current:

 

Plug Load Energy Testing for Improving Codes and Standards (PLETICS)

Sponsor: California Energy Commission (CEC) (2021 – 2024)

Improving state codes and standards and associated test methods for plug load energy consumption is a potentially useful way of driving forward state energy and GHG reduction goals. The Energy Commission has tasked CalPlug and partner organizations (California Energy Alliance, UC Davis, and California State University Northridge) to assess codes and standards opportunities for commercial office equipment, residential small networking equipment, and laboratory equipment, that currently do not have Title 20 requirements. In this project, we will identify non-covered plug load devices with the most potential to positively impact future energy and load management codes and standards, develop appliance test standards to quantify device performance, test selected devices to accurately determine energy use and related performance characteristics in varying operating modes, model the energy impacts of potential plug load measures to determine statewide savings and related impacts, and provide plug load codes and standards recommendations, including recommended test methods.

 

Nevada Industry 4.0 Survey

Sponsor: Nevada Industry Excellence (NVIE) (2021-2022)

On behalf of NVIE, CalPlug is currently developing and conducting a survey of small and medium manufacturers (SMMs) in Nevada to assess their attitudes about, prior experience with, and readiness level toward adopting smart manufacturing solutions, also known as Industry 4.0.

 

 

Completed:

Smart Manufacturing in Small and Medium Manufacturers Survey

Sponsor: CESMII (2019 – 2021)

Large manufacturers have been able to capitalize on the advancements in digital technology to increase productivity. However, small and medium manufacturers have not been able to benefit as much from smart solutions. They face a range of barriers, including the high cost of transitioning from largely manual operations to a more automated environment and the high IT, infrastructure, and monitoring needs of complex systems scaled for large businesses. The goal of the Smart Connected Workers project is to create affordable, scalable, accessible, and portable smart manufacturing systems. The project aims to develop the smart manufacturing platform leveraging existing installed infrastructure to keep cost down. In this collaborative project, CalPlug contributes a state of the market review of survey studies, highlighting the needs, drivers, and barriers faced by small and medium manufacturing enterprises. This review supported development of an online survey study to inform software development and later implementation. Participants of the study (ongoing) are owners and other staff of SMEs and consultants who work with these SMEs. CalPlug staff is also involved in development and testing of the smart manufacturing platform.

 

Evaluating the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Residential Energy Use in Los Angeles

Sponsor: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (2021)

Large manufacturers have been able to capitalize on the advancements in digital technology to increase productivity. However, small and medium manufacturers have not been able to benefit as much from smart solutions. They face a range of barriers, including the high cost of transitioning from largely manual operations to a more automated environment and the high IT, infrastructure, and monitoring needs of complex systems scaled for large businesses. The goal of the Smart Connected Workers project is to create affordable, scalable, accessible, and portable smart manufacturing systems. The project aims to develop the smart manufacturing platform leveraging existing installed infrastructure to keep cost down. In this collaborative project, CalPlug contributes a state of the market review of survey studies, highlighting the needs, drivers, and barriers faced by small and medium manufacturing enterprises. This review supported development of an online survey study to inform software development and later implementation. Participants of the study (ongoing) are owners and other staff of SMEs and consultants who work with these SMEs. CalPlug staff is also involved in development and testing of the smart manufacturing platform.

Article: Klopfer, Michael J., Joy E. Pixley, Armen Saiyan, Amir Tabakh, David Jacot, and Guann Pyng Li. 2021. “Evaluating the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Residential Energy Use in Los Angeles.” Applied Sciences 11 (10): 4476.

 

Highlighting Plug Load Devices In Commercial Energy Efficiency

Sponsor: Commonwealth Edison (2019 – 2020)

CalPlug reviewed and compared EE programs concerned with commercial plug load devices , with the aim of suggesting possible avenues for integrating new approaches or measure categories into ComEd’s current EE programs. CalPlug took a three-pronged approach to identify potential opportunities. First, CalPlug compiled a list of plug load devices and controls that were the most promising for achieving energy savings. Second, CalPlug identified and examined all the energy efficiency programs that involve plug load devices in ComEd’s current program portfolio and in the portfolios of 18 selected comparison utilities. Third, CalPlug compared ComEd’s programs with the comparison utilities’ programs and with best practices to identify potential opportunities for more effectively advancing plug load efficiency.

Report: Pixley, Joy E., Katie Gladych, Sabine Kunrath, Mahejabeen Kauser, Genoveva Paz, and G. P. Li. July 2020. Highlighting Plug Load Devices In Commercial Energy Efficiency Programs. Prepared by California Plug Load Research Center (CalPlug) for Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) (Chicago, IL).

 

IDSM Program Opportunities in Connected Plug Load Devices

Sponsor: San Diego Gas and Electric (2019 – 2020)

In recent years, a wide range of “smart” connected residential plug load devices have become market ready, as have secondary connected systems that control plug loads. The features of these individual devices and control systems range from reporting information to users and allowing basic schedule settings to complex monitoring and energy management control options. Although the connectivity of these devices is often focused on convenience or security for the customer, many of them have the potential for increasing energy efficiency and for demand-response or other load-shifting functionality. The purpose of this project was to review the current state of knowledge and run targeted device tests to assess the potential of these new smart plug load devices and systems for success in utility sponsored residential IDSM programs.

Report: Emerging Products Review: IDSM Program Opportunities in Connected Plug Load Devices. Assessing the potential for Plug Load measures and programs featuring connectivity. Prepared by California Plug Load Research Center (CalPlug) for San Diego Gas and Electric (San Diego, CA).

 

USB Motion Sensor Computer Energy Management System: Technology Evaluation Report

Sponsor: TrickleStar, LLC (2019)

Workstation computers are a major contributor to home and commercial loads originating from service outlets (plug loads). In this study, CalPlug evaluated a commercial solution to trigger computer standby without the need for direct user intervention or centralized coordination by using motion as the sensing element for user activity for computer use at a workstation.

Report: Klopfer, Michael, Joy E. Pixley, Saniya Syed, and G.P. Li. 2019. USB Motion Sensor Computer Energy Management System: Technology Evaluation Report. Prepared by California Plug Load Research Center (CalPlug) for TrickleStar, LLC (Irvine, CA).

 

Power Management User Interface (PMUI)

Sponsor: California Energy Commission (2016 – 2020)

Research shows that many desktop computers are left on for long periods even when not being used. Getting computers to transition to sleep mode during these periods would save a substantial amount of energy both in commercial and residential settings. CalPlug developed and tested a new software application that manages computer sleep settings, called Power Management User Interface. The goal was to create a user interface that encourages desktop computer users to more efficiently use the automatic sleep settings already available on computers. The design of the user interface was based upon past research on the efficacy of various energy feedback programs and displays in reducing energy use in residential and office settings, on programs to encourage pro-environmental behaviors more generally, and on behavioral theories. The software was tested in the lab for user comprehension and then evaluated in a randomized control trial at the University of California, Irvine

Final Report: Pixley, Joy E., Sabine Kunrath, Sergio Gago-Masague, Raquel Fallman, and G.P. Li. 2021. The Power Management User Interface Study. California Energy Commission (Sacramento, CA).

Software Report: Pixley, Joy E., Sergio Gago-Masague, and Raquel Fallman. October 2018 2019. Software Development Report for the Power Management User Interface Study. California Energy Commission (Sacramento, CA).

 

Behavioral Interventions in Residential Energy Consumption

Sponsor: Southern California Edison (2018 – 2019)

Behavioral policies and interventions are an integral part of reducing residential greenhouse gas emissions. The project conducted an intensive review of the current literature on behavioral interventions designed to reduce or shift residential energy consumption, and tied intervention techniques to the behavioral theories that support them. The review collected over 1400 sources and used content coding to identify themes and results. CalPlug gave recommendations for future behavioral intervention projects based on the assessment of prior research and behavioral theory.

Report: Pixley, Joy E., Sabine Kunrath, and G.P. Li. 2019. Behavioral Interventions in Residential Energy Consumption: A Literature Review. Prepared by California Plug Load Research Center (CalPlug) for Emerging Products, Southern California Edison (SCE) (Rosemead, CA).

 

SIM Home Extended Testing: Advancing Plug Load Efficiency with Behavioral Focused Usage Evaluation

Sponsor: Southern California Edison (2018 – 2019)

California’s ongoing push to Zero Net Energy for residential and commercial buildings encourages reducing energy consumption at all levels, including miscellaneous electric loads and other plug load devices. The project assessed the estimated effects of active use, pattern of use, and power management on energy usage for selected devices. This analysis first identified which devices exhibit large variations in energy use across profiles. It then quantitatively assessed whether the variation for each device is more strongly driven by the amount of active use, pattern of use, or power management behaviors, each suggesting different remediation strategies.

Report: Klopfer, Michael, Joy E. Pixley, Saniya Syed, and G.P. Li. September 2019. Advancing Plug Load Efficiency with Behavioral-Focused Usage Evaluation. Prepared by California Plug Load Research Center (CalPlug) for Southern California Edison (Rosemead, CA).

 

Intelligent Control of Domestic and Commercial Point of Use Water Heating and Cooling Applications (2017)

Sponser: University of California Irvine (2017 – 2020)

Point-of-use water heating and cooling dispensing devices (e.g., coffee makers, hot and cold water dispensers) often use substantial energy maintaining water temperature to enable immediate consumption, in many instances 24 hours a day. CalPlug evaluated the savings potential of a novel thermal control methodology, Active Thermal Observation and Management (ATOM). With system knowledge of the required warm-up time to the user’s set-point, a balance is struck between user convenience and energy savings.

Report: Klopfer, Michael, Linyi Xia, Joy E. Pixley, Crystal Rapier, and G.P. Li. 2017. “Intelligent control of domestic and commercial point of use water heating and cooling applications.” 9th International Conference on Energy Efficiency in Domestic Appliances and Lighting (EEDAL’17), Irvine, CA.

 

Energy Channel 2.0

Sponsor: Southern California Edison (2015 – 2017)

The project developed a low-cost, real-time monitoring framework, called “Energy Channel,” which is displayed on home televisions. The solution collects energy data directly from the local smart meter, and the framework uses a Home Area Network and a mobile application to collect additional data and perform non-intrusive load monitoring. The proposed solution compensates for a lack of additional sensors and high-computational resources by providing additional sources of information, including historical consumption data, consumer location, local weather, and house properties, and by enabling consumer input and additional feedback via smartphone.

Report: Gago-Masague, Sergio , Joy E. Pixley, and Raquel Fallman. 2017. Energy Channel 2.0. Prepared by California Plug Load Research Center (CalPlug) for Southern California Edison (Rosemead, CA)

 

Technology Roadmap towards 2030 and Beyond

Sponsor: Southern California Edison (2015 – 2017)

CalPlug identified topics related to the changing nature of miscellaneous loads, with a projection timescale reaching out to 2030. The team reviewed California’s ZNE net energy efforts in addition to the energy modeling techniques used for evaluating zero net energy compliance and assessed the impact of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies on residential energy consumption. CalPlug considered often-overlooked and emerging product categories and the impact of demographic development on residential energy consumption.

Report: Klopfer, Michael, Crystal Rapier, Jason Luo, Joy E. Pixley, and G.P. Li. 2017. Technology Roadmap towards 2030 and Beyond. Prepared by California Plug Load Research Center for Southern California Edison (Rosemead, CA).

 

SIM Home

Sponsor: Southern California Edison (2015 – 2017)

The Simulation, Integration, and Management (SIM) Home project aimed to assist with several aspects of program development within SCE’s Emerging Technology group. The first objective was to build an advanced metering environment including a range of products, providing the capacity for networked plug load device testing to supplement individual energy tests. The second objective was to produce energy consumption estimates for products included in the initial development of the SIM Home, in particular noting the estimated range of consumption based on varied device use patterns. The third purpose was to develop two applications for communicating this information to users: a web-based energy display, and an animated avatar providing human-like verbal communication.

Report: Xia, Linyi, Joy E. Pixley, and Sergio Gago-Masague. 2017. SIM Home Final Report. Prepared by California Plug Load Research Center (CalPlug) for Southern California Edison (Rosemead, CA).

 

Plug Loads Advocacy: A Look Ahead at Plug-In Appliances and Their Relationship to the Smart Grid and Homes

Sponsor: Southern California Edison (2015 – 2016)

This project reviewed recently published studies and reports on energy-saving opportunities for plug load devices, with the aim of strengthening plug load advocacy. Covered topics included technology trends and energy needs; smart versus standard appliances; expected demands of data centers and impact on network infrastructure; engaging consumers with targeted information; and reviewing recent code enhancements addressing miscellaneous electric loads for residential buildings in Title 24.

Report: Xia, Linyi. 2016. “A Look Ahead-Future State of Plug Loads and Energy.” Prepared by California Plug Load Research Center (CalPlug) for Southern California Edison (Rosemead, CA).

 

Smart Meter Data on TV via Set-Top Box

Sponsor: Southern California Edison (2013 – 2014)

This project aimed to demonstrate the concept of distributing Smart Meter information through compliant home set-top box systems. Real-time information, such as kWh usage and kW demand, will be relayed from an end-point Smart Meter to a multi-access gateway. The gateway, or dedicated web server device, will embed the consumer home energy usage in a web-based platform already developed by CalPlug that can be accessed through a standard web browser built into a user terminal such as a set-top box. Displaying this data will provide home owners with sufficient information that will help them manage their energy consumption. The user friendly interface has been designed to display customer’s energy usage and cost information on their TV screen while they are watching TV.

Report:  Li, G.P. 2014. “Display of Smart Meter Information Via Set-Top Box Systems.” Prepared by California Plug Load Research Center (CalPlug) for Southern California Edison (Rosemead, CA)

 

Monitoring Computer Power Modes Field Study

Sponsor: California Energy Commision (2012 – 2014)

This field study was a follow‐up to the Computer Power Management Usage Survey, which showed a high rate of self-reported engagement of automatic power management settings, and moderate use of manual steps, such as manual shutdown. The monitoring study examined the office desktops of a subsample of staff members, faculty members, and graduate students of the earlier study, enabling comparison across the two studies. Researchers examined the power settings of 125 office desktops, and remotely monitored the power states of 119 of the computers for several weeks. Participants also completed questionnaires. Power state monitoring shows that desktops were off an average of 16 percent of the time and in sleep mode for 7 percent. The majority of time (61 percent) was spent on but user‐inactive. While 84 percent of these participants had reported using automatic PM settings in the earlier survey, only 20 percent of their desktops actually had automatic settings enabled. A minority of computers exhibited manual use of sleep mode and 25 percent of computers exhibited manual shutdown or hibernation. Greater power management engagement was found for participants with more control over their computers and those with more computer expertise. The findings are consistent with the idea that differences between the survey reports and the monitoring study data are due to users’ confusion about power management settings; sources of that confusion and its possible connection to lower enabling rates are discussed.

Report: Pixley, Joy E., and Stuart A. Ross. 2014. “Monitoring Computer Power Modes Usage in a University Population” (CEC‐500‐2014‐092). Sacramento, CA: California Energy Commission.

 

Computer Power Management usage Survey

Sponsor: California Energy Commission (2011 – 2014)

This project involved a survey of over 2,000 students, faculty, staff, and retirees of a university population. Respondents were ask about their use of computers and particularly of power management (PM) settings and behaviors. Detailed information was obtained for 1,041 office desktop computers, 599 home desktops, and 1,729 laptops. Respondents reported using automatic PM (primarily sleep settings) for 96 percent of laptops, 88 percent of home desktops, and 86 percent of office desktops. Manual PM (shutting down computers after use) is reported more often by those who also use automatic PM. Important reasons given for leaving computers on without sleep enabled include slow restarting and keeping computers on for updates, backups, and remote access. Other variables addressed include users’ role, computer knowledge, age, and gender. A follow-up monitoring study of a subset of office desktops showed substantially lower automatic PM rates than in the survey but agrees with the survey in other respects; implications for the survey results are explored.

Report: Pixley, Joy E., Stuart A. Ross, Ankita Raturi, and Alan C. Downs. 2014. ”A Survey of Computer Power Modes Usage in a University Population” (CEC-500-2014-093). Sacramento, CA: Energy Commission.

 

Student Projects