Modeling Savings for ENERGY STAR Smart Home Energy Management Systems

Robert Hendron, Kristin Heinemeier, Alea German, Joshua Pereira, Conor Dennehy (NREL Technical Monitor)

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The objective of this study was to develop a repeatable and defensible methodology to analyze the energy savings for Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS) that meets the minimum requirements for certification under ENERGY STAR® Smart Home Energy Management System (SHEMS) Version 1 (EPA, 2020a). Mandatory connected loads include a smart thermostat, two smart lights, and one smart power strip or smart outlet. Control strategies must include feedback to occupants through an in-home display, user programming, occupancy sensor-based controls, and responsiveness to utility signals such as demand response programs. Several occupant behavior patterns were selected to quantify the range of energy savings potential for a HEMS with this basic functionality. A literature review was conducted to establish realistic room-by-room occupancy levels and usage patterns for connected devices. A series of event-driven hourly profiles were created, followed by adjustments based on application of HEMS control strategies to thermostats, interior lighting, and plug load schedules. EnergyPlus modeling was performed using these hourly schedules in three locations (Boston, Houston, and Phoenix) to examine climate dependence of energy savings. Total site energy savings ranged from 4.3 to 27.1 MBtu/year (7%-35%), and utility bill savings ranged from $123 to $670/year (6%-29%). The highest predicted savings was realized by occupants that were not energy conscious prior to HEMS installation, but highly engaged with the HEMS controls once the system was installed. The smart thermostat accounted for most of the savings, followed by the smart power strip. Smart lighting did not save a significant amount of energy in our analysis, based on an assumption that efficient LEDs with no standby power would normally be installed anyway.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages47
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Frontier Energy, San Ramon, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5600-79534

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102021-5538


  • buildings
  • home energy management systems
  • residential
  • smart home energy management systems


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