Building Energy Management: Projects and Publications

Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems

CSE Visiting Scientist Peter Engelmann advises a homeowner on the state of his systems.

Project Overviews


Selected Energy Management Research Projects

Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar PV (SHINES) award

The U.S. Department of Energy has selected a Fraunhofer CSE-led team to carry out a $3.5M, three-year research project to design, develop, and demonstrate an integrated system of solar photovoltaic (PV), energy storage, and facility load management at the utility distribution scale in Massachusetts. Fraunhofer CSE, with National Grid, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), and other industry partners, will match the award, contributing $3.5M towards the project.

Non-Intrusive Appliance Load Monitoring

Fraunhofer CSE's patented non-intrusive appliance load monitoring (NIALM) is a way for homeowners and building managers to monitor energy consumption on an appliance-by-appliance basis without having to install dedicated sensors across an entire house or office building.

Evaluation of Programmable Thermostats

The majority of U.S. households use either manual or programmable thermostats to regulate their heating. In theory, these thermostats can not only save consumers’ energy, but also leave more money in their pockets thanks to lower heating and electric bills. But are people with an easy-to-operate thermostat more likely to use its energy-saving settings, such as nighttime setbacks?

Designing Interfaces for Home Energy Users

Providing visual feedback to consumers on their energy use through home energy management (HEM) products has been accepted as an effective way to achieve energy savings. However, HEM products cover a variety of media and device types, all of which may have present different types of information and offer different levels of design. Fraunhofer CSE set out to identify how user preferences for various designs and across different presentation media may affect their likelihood of adoption.

Assessing Zero Net Energy Buildings

In 2010, Fraunhofer CSE began monitoring several Massachusetts residences that had been designed to be net zero energy homes (NZEHs). NZEHs are an extreme example of what can be achieved in energy-efficient building. However, the technologies and design concepts have direct relevance in a number of different residential applications, and could lead to innovations that become commonplace features in today’s homes.


Selected Publications



"Communicating Thermostats as a Tool for Home Energy Performance Assessment"

M. Zeifman, K. Roth, B. Urban

Paper presented at the Proceedings of the 35th IEEE International Conference on Consumer Electronics.

Las Vegas, NV

January 8-11, 2017

"Encouraging Sustainable Practices Beyond Here and Now: The Case of Programmable Thermostats for Low Income Tenants." [Click to download PDF]

J. Abreu

Paper presented at the Behavior, Energy & Climate Change Conference.

Baltimore, MD

October 20-22, 2016

"A Data-Driven Framework for Comparing Residential Thermostat Energy Performance"

“Smart Meter Data Predict Household Propensity to Enroll in Energy Efficiency Programs.” [Click to download PDF]

M. Zeifman

Paper presented at the Association of Energy Services Professionals (AESP) National Conference and Expo.

Orlando, FL

February 9-12, 2015

"A Data-Driven Framework for Comparing Residential Thermostat Energy Performance" [Click to download PDF]

B. Urban, K. Roth

Fraunhofer CSE and Nest Labs have co-developed a new data-driven framework for comparing the energy performance of residential thermostats. This paper identifies the key challenges facing thermostat assessment and proposes a framework that can help overcome those challenges. Savings due to setpoint adjustments (largely behavioral and highly variable) are addressed separately from more automated HVAC-control based savings (largely mechanical and more consistent). We conclude with an illustrative example of a data-driven simulation approach for quantifying setpoint-based performance using anonymous data from selected thermostat users.


"Rapid Prototyping of Energy Management Applications with FRESH" [Click to download PDF]

B. Lim, K. Roth, S. Nambiar, H. Rayakota

Proceedings of the ACEEE 2014 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. 209-221. Washington, D.C: ACEEE.



"Residential Consumer Electronics Energy Consumption in 2013" [Click to download PDF]

K. Roth, B. Urban, V. Shmakova, B. Lim

Proceedings of the ACEEE 2014 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. 308-320. Washington, D.C: ACEEE.


"For Better or for Worse? Empirical Evidence of Moral Licensing in a Behavioral Energy Conservation Campaign" 

V. Tiefenbeck, T. Staake, K. Roth, O. Sachs

Energy Policy, Volume 53

June 2013 

"Automatic Recognition of Major End-Uses in Disaggregation of Home Energy Display Data"

M. Zeifman, K. Roth, J. Stefan

2013 International Conference on Consumer Electronics

Las Vegas, NV

January 11 - 14, 2013

"Comfort, Indoor Air Quality, and Energy Consumption in Low Energy Homes"

P. Engelmann, K. Roth, V. Tiefenbeck

Prepared for the US Department of Energy Building Technology Program

January 2013