Smappee offers several ways to submeter appliances. One of the most intriguing ways is surely our patented NILM (Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring) technology, a load disaggregation tool. Submetering with NILM identifies up to 5 appliances and maps out their approximate energy use with an average accuracy of 70%, at no additional cost. Note that the NILM feature only works in residential buildings and is disabled by default when installing Smappee.
Here’s how it works…
You can compare Smappee to Shazam, the app that identifies songs. When an appliance uses electricity, it has an electrical ‘tune’- a unique tune for every appliance! By connecting a clamp to the phase wire, you can enable Smappee to ‘hear’ all these tunes on the power cable. Smappee uses its patented NILM technology to recognise the tunes of the most important appliances. Then it assigns these tunes to the correct appliances and labels them as such.
It takes 4 to 5 weeks to detect appliances using NILM technology. This depends on how many appliances and major consumers you have in your building. Most likely, the identified appliances will be among the following: refrigerator, freezer, microwave, stove, oven, vacuum cleaner, coffee maker (e.g. Nespresso, Senseo, etc.), dishwasher, iron, washing machine, tumble dryer, water pump, lights (>50W) or car charger.
Every ground-breaking technology has limitations, and that goes for Smappee’s NILM too:
- Appliances with similar electrical tunes. E.g. coffee machines and kettles, are hard to distinguish and may be confused.
- Appliances with a variable capacity are difficult to detect, as they have varying consumption patterns instead of one clear electrical tune. E.g. a heat pump or an Ambilight TV.
- It is also difficult to hear ‘quiet’ appliances (using less than 50 watts) such as LED lights.
- When there are a lot of appliances on at the same time, it is difficult to recognize a specific electrical tune among the confusion of melodies.
If you only use NILM technology to submeter appliances, errors are always possible. But you don’t just have to sit back and accept it. Add submetering with CTs, Smappee Input module and Smappee Switch or improve their NILM appliance detection in 4 steps. Keep reading …
Step 1: Let Smappee know what appliances can be detected.
In the appliance survey in the Smappee app, users can mark which appliances are present in the building. That way, Smappee knows what electrical tunes to look for on the power cable. Users receive an alert from Smappee to fill out the survey immediately after installation. The survey can also be found in the Smappee App: go to Settings, Your locations, select a home and tap Survey.
Step 2: Give feedback on detected Events.
See when a submetered appliance is used in the Event list in the app. Swipe an event to the right if Smappee’s NILM detected it correctly, swipe left when it’s wrong. Smappee will remember and learn from this feedback.
Step 3: Use the Learn with Switch app feature.
Use the Smappee Switch to expand the list of NILM-detected appliances. Plug the Switch temporarily in the appliance you want to train. When Smappee finds an electrical tune on the power cable that matches the electrical tune the Switch hears, Smappee will take time to train its NILM to recognise the appliance. Then the Smappee Switch can be unplugged and used to detect another appliance.
Step 4: Use the Assisted Learning app feature.
A few weeks after installation, Smappee might have found several electrical tunes that NILM can’t assign to an appliance. Users can help assign a tune to a specific appliance using the Assisted Learning app feature. You simply have to turn the appliance on and off three times when asked. Smappee tries to filter out the tune that started and ended at the exact time that the user switched the appliance on and off. If there’s a match, Smappee will learn and remember the appliance.
Get your customers engaged and change their energy behaviour right now. Expect higher energy efficiency and greater savings.