Laboratory Resources and Techniques to Evaluate Smart Home Technology: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Smart home technologies promise to make residential buildings more comfortable, less costly to operate, more energy efficient, and more integrated with the grid, but these systems are difficult to evaluate in traditional laboratory spaces. To aid in the development and evaluation of new home energy management systems (HEMS), NREL built the Systems Performance Laboratory (SPL) within the Energy Systems Integration Facility. SPL has electrical infrastructure for three residential buildings, complete with smart meters, breaker panels and a full complement of major and minor appliances in each 'home.' Cord and plug power connections mean that appliances can easily be swapped for different models. Distributed energy resources (DER), such as residential photovoltaic (PV) inverters and home batteries, are also available for integration. Sensors monitor the power consumption of all loads and controllers can simulate occupancy to drive the appliances in realistic ways. A novel hardware-in-the-loop application was developed to ensure air conditioner cycling by combining a building simulation with a physical air conditioner and a thermostat, which allows us to simulate performance in any climate with any building construction. Another application of the hardware-in-the-loop technique uses a grid simulation to model the grid impact for different control strategies related to smart home technologies. This laboratory is a powerful, flexible tool that can be employed to evaluate the effect that home energy management and other smart home technologies will have at the appliance, whole-home, and distribution feeder levels - all of which are important perspectives for different stakeholders.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2018
Event2018 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings - Pacific Grove, California
Duration: 12 Aug 201817 Aug 2018


Conference2018 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
CityPacific Grove, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-71696


  • buildings
  • DER
  • Distributed Energy Resources
  • home energy management system
  • residential
  • systems performance laboratory


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