Sense Releases Open-Source Effort to Accelerate Electrification of Homes without Costly Service Upgrades


Fremont, CA: Property Technology (proptech) is more than a buzzword in the real estate industry, as evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic accelerated digital transformation in a variety of industries, including real estate.

Sense has initiated a new standards-based open-source effort to enable software to automatically adjust the power use of edge devices in the home. Real-Time Power Management Protocol (or RT-PMP) is a new project that will speed up the transition to a low-carbon future as homes increasingly depend on electricity—without the requirement for major electrical system upgrades. Electric vehicle chargers, HVAC systems, and other high-load devices will adaptively vary their power usage with real-time control software to avoid overloading the home's electrical panel capacity and reducing grid strain.

Commented Sense CEO Mike Phillips: "At Sense, we've been working on making homes smart using real-time energy monitoring and engaging consumer applications, and have created software for interfacing with devices in the home for control and automation. We've decided to make this communication software available as open source, and are working with partners to speed the adoption of the automation and demand flexibility we all know is needed to equitably provide a low-carbon and resilient energy system."

Smarter homes and buildings will play an important role in reducing global energy consumption. Homes and buildings account for approximately 40% of global energy consumption and CO2 emissions, and they also play an important role in the electrification of transportation, as over 80% of EV charging occurs at home.

The electrification of most major energy uses in homes and buildings and increasing amounts of distributed generation and storage are all part of the path to decarbonization. Without intelligent control, these new patterns of electricity consumption will necessitate significant investments in the capacity of electrical systems, not only in transmission and distribution networks but also in homes and buildings. A significant number of electrical panels, service feeds, and transformers will need to be replaced if the current path is followed.

Real-time energy monitoring, combined with software control of edge devices, provides a less expensive solution to this problem, making the electrification transition more equitable and accessible to all households.

Based on an analysis of over 3500 homes in North America, Sense discovered that by having smart control of just a few major energy consumers in a home, current infrastructure in most homes can handle all planned future residential loads with no significant disruption to the home's occupants. Sense discovered that if new electrical loads include smart real-time control, more than 98 percent of homes could remain below their current panel limits by dynamically controlling these new loads less than 1 percent of the time.

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