Do you know precisely how much electricity your gadgets and appliances sip when you’re away from home? Or how frequently energy costs fluctuate? These factors are increasingly important to consider as electricity prices soar and outages become a more common occurrence. It’s something Schneider Electric wants to help with.
The power management company recently announced Schneider Home, a system that promises insight into and control over the electricity in your house through an app on your phone. It includes a smart electrical panel, backup battery, electric vehicle charger, solar inverter, smart light switches, dimmers, and smart outlets. Naturally, it doesn’t come cheap, costing around $10,000 for a complete system. Not to mention, the installation will be disruptive.
The US Department of Energy sees home energy management systems (HEMS) as an important piece of the puzzle in working toward a smarter grid. But HEMS come in many shapes and sizes. Many of us have already cobbled together retrofitted systems with smart thermostats, smart plugs, and Wi-Fi-connected appliances. By adding solar panels to generate electricity and batteries for storage, with a control system on top, people who can afford these systems can significantly reduce their energy use.
Schneider’s method wants to simplify the whole process. With a complete install, you can monitor electricity usage throughout your home, review consumption per device, and see precisely how much it all costs. You can set up automation to reduce wasted energy. For example, you can schedule various sockets and lights to turn off automatically when you’re at work—which can cut power to TVs, smart speakers, and other non-essential vampires on standby, while specifying that appliances like your fridge should stay on. You can schedule EV charging during off-peak hours or overnight, when electricity is at its cheapest. With the home battery and solar panels, you can store energy during the day and use it during peak hours to save money. A battery also lets you keep the power on for specific outlets if there’s an outage.
Modular Home Energy Management
The brain of this system is the Schneider Pulse, a smart electrical panel capable of interconnecting energy sources in your home, giving you granular control via the Schneider Home app. It enables you to balance power distribution, which could be especially handy for folks with a capacity limit. The system has the smarts to balance your load, perhaps turning off your EV charger when you cook dinner and restarting it after you finish to reduce the load.