What is NILM technology?

The importance of energy efficiency in our homes continues to increase as the demand for electrical energy continues to rise exponentially. Electric energy demand is expected to double between 2020 and 2050. As the population continues to grow, current electricity methods are becoming more and more unsustainable. According to the International Electrotechnical Commission, the intelligent and frugal use of electricity will be the most important factor in solving energy efficiency problems. As a result of this, research has proven that NILM is one of the most efficient and cost effective ways to reduce energy consumption on both a residential and commercial level. 


What is NILM?

Non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM) is the process of analysing changes in energy and obtaining appliance specific information. This includes collecting information on the energy consumption of each individual appliance through aggregate measures of voltage and/or current distribution in the system. Information is collected at the main input, and then disaggregated to obtain operational time and power draw information. Collecting the data in this manner shows how different electrical appliances generate distinct power signatures, including their active power. This can be seen in the image below. 

Generally speaking, an NILM system involves 4 different components. These include: 


  1. Hardware: used to measure and record data including a power meter that install at main circuit. 
  2. Event Detection Software: detects the change of power or other changes in electricity consumption. It demonstrates changes in operating conditions of appliances. For example, a transition of active power from a high to low, can determine whether the machine is turned on
  3. Data Disaggregation: software that acts as disaggregation, which groups electrical appliances based on whether they are on or off. Generally, NILM algorithms are categorised into pattern recognition or optimisation methods (pattern matching).
  4. Optimisation: compares the extracted feature data of an unknown appliances to that of known appliances present in the cluster of the database and search the closest match by minimisation the error between them

Smappee & NILM

Smappee uses NILM technology with their energy monitoring systems. Appliances need to be used regularly to be able to be detected. It is suggested to use NILM technology in conjunction with sub-metering. The Smappee Switch allows for wireless sub-metering on monophase appliances up to 16A. With the Smappee Switch you can also remotely control your appliances through the Smappee App. This is useful for appliances with variable loads such as TVs, air conditioners, heat pumps or adapter-powered appliances such as phone chargers. The Smappee NILM algorithm is designed to identify the top 5 energy guzzlers, labelled automatically and reported on a monthly basis through the Smappee App. See the Smappee page for more information or contact us.


Why use NILM?

NILM technology is considered to be one of the most cost-effective energy management systems. Only one monitor is needed to measure all appliances, opposed to attaching a monitor to each individual appliance in the home or office. Gaining continuous feedback and real-time information on appliances can also lead to great energy savings. For example, energy consumption of refrigerators can be used to plan to defrost. It is important to do this as frost in refrigerators increases the amount of energy needed to keep the motor running. Manual defrost refrigerators is necessary to see results with your energy savings. 


Ready to transform your home into a smart home? Get in touch!


SOURCES: Procedia Computer Science, Developments in Deep Learning for Engineering Applications

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