In order to shift energy consumption from periods in which there is less energy available to those which have more, Linear first needed to know what types of energy consumption qualified for this:
- Lighting, multimedia and cooking are for the most part tied to the behaviour pattern of a household, and as such are not easy to reschedule.
- The use of a dishwasher, washing machine and clothes dryer can be shifted to another time.
- Other devices, such as heat pumps and electric boilers, are also well-suited, because users rarely need to interact with them.
The Linear devices
Based on analyses of benchmarks and surveys, we selected a range of devices for the test.
1. Devices that can be interrupted
These devices do not have to run continuously, but on a periodic basis. They can consume less during times when electricity is expensive or when the availability is limited.
- electric boiler (Siemens)
- heat pump (Viessman + VITO prototype controller)
- the recharging capability of electric vehicles (Infrax)
2. Devices that can be flexibly scheduled
Participants can set such devices to run during a specified time period, such as when they are at work or during the night.
The Miele appliances have an integrated communication system and as a result are already ‘smart’. We turned the Siemens appliances into ‘smart’ devices via a prototype controller for general appliances from VITO.
Smart devices are household devices that exchange data with a home network, smartphone, home energy management system, etc. This allows participants to monitor the appliances functioning remotely, to operate them directly or to control them via programming.
Household devices use a different amount of electricity depending on the programming mode and the specific programme cycle. The different consumption times and consumption levels within a programming mode are referred to as the powertrain. A washing machine, for example, contains a number of parts which are repeatedly activated, such as the water inlet valve, the motor that turns the drum, the electrical resistance used to heat the water, the pump used to circulate and discharge the water, etc. As a result, the amount of energy that the washing machine consumes fluctuates from cycle to cycle. We take these programming modes into account when implementing automated control in the Linear project: the washing machine consumes most of its energy when rates are lower.