Appliance fingerprint helps identify energy savings

Appliance fingerprint technology

CSIRO will partner with start-up enterprise Ecocentric to further develop a system that recognises the electrical ‘fingerprint’ of individual appliances to increase energy efficiency in buildings.

The ‘Numen’ energy system brings together a building’s total energy signal, identifies the appliances present and then provides appliance-specific data about how much energy each appliance is using.

Developed collaboratively using CSIRO algorithms, Numen improves the processes involved in using and conserving energy in homes, commercial buildings and industrial facilities.

Conventional smart-metering systems, such as those used for billing, record low-resolution total energy use, whereas the CSIRO-developed ‘cognitive metering’ technology to be used in the Numen identifies individual appliances using a unique signature of high-frequency electrical data.

Machine learning algorithms are then employed to measure appliance power consumption without the need for individual metering.

Numen uses cloud-based technology to monitor energy consumption in real time, allowing unprecedented insights into the operation of critical machinery.

The system will allow automatic identification of metered electrical devices, facilitate better understanding and prediction of energy use patterns, and predict faults for pre-emptive maintenance.

CSIRO energy director Karl Rodrigues said the system has immense potential to improve energy intelligence.

“The energy domain is experiencing an increased focus in the megatrend ‘digital immersion’, affecting both domestic and commercial energy consumers,” Mr Rodrigues said.

“Our research is helping drive the next wave of productivity and efficiency in energy consumption.”

Ecocentric CEO Tim Bray is excited by Numen’s commercial prospects, as well as its potential to lower energy use in the built environment.

“Numen will be a part of Australia’s contribution to a more energy efficient future,” Mr Bray said.

“There is no waste in nature, that’s a human phenomenon.”

Under the agreement, Ecocentric will obtain a licence from CSIRO to the cognitive metering technology and work with CSIRO for a period of six years to further refine the system.

A key focus of CSIRO’s Energy research is the development of intelligent systems, including decision support and management tools that reduce energy consumption of Australia’s buildings through improved understanding of energy flows.