Ph.D. student to study savings from home appliance networks

Sukjoon Oh

Sukjoon Oh, a Texas A&M Ph.D. architecture student, is studying how much consumers can expect to save on their electricity bills in a not-too-distant future when a typical household will feature refrigerators, washers and dryers, coffee machines, and electric meters all joined in a Wi-Fi network.

In the coming "Internet of Things," just about anything with an on/off switch will be connected to the Internet, providing remote operation capabilities and user monitoring of connected devices with desktop or mobile devices. 

In homes with network-linked appliances, consumers will be able to closely monitor changes in electrical use by, for example, using a lower heat setting on a dryer or using a shorter dishwasher cycle in an effort to lower their electric bills.

Oh is developing guidelines to quantify and predict savings for consumers with these networks with the help of a $10,000 grant-in-aid from ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

He will perform the study using data from residences equipped with “smart” meters, electronic devices that record energy consumption in intervals of an hour or less and communicate with electricity providers for monitoring and billing.

First, Oh will determine a baseline of residential energy use with billing data from a large group of non-networked homes.

Then, he will analyze differences in energy use between “early-adopter” residences that already have networked appliances, and homes without networks, with the help of statistical models. 

He will conclude the study by employing additional models to quantify and predict energy savings in networked homes.

Oh’s Ph.D. study chair is Jeff Haberl, professor of architecture.

ASHRAE’s grant-in-aid program encourages outstanding graduate students to become involved in ASHRAE-related research and establish careers that include active engagement within and continued contributions to the group’s activities.

The evaluation criteria for grant candidates include the student’s academic performance, quality of the student’s research plan, an advisor’s recommendation, and an overall assessment of the likelihood for future involvement of the student in ASHRAE.

posted March 25, 2016