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All about Energy in Your Smart Home

How can the energy in the smart home be used effectively? Peggy sits down with Rene Rieck, global product marketing manager at Alexander Maier GmbH, to discuss the smart home, energy, and everything in between.

Peggy Smedley What is EisBaer Software and how does Alexander Maier work together?

In the “Babylon of systems,” EisBaer software creates the link between different automation technologies and protocols, the IoT (Internet of Things) world and people. With it´s simple, intuitive handling, the high flexibility and adaptability, EisBaer software will change the way people interact with their smart homes/buildings. We create cognitive buildings that are able to autonomously learn system and user behaviour to optimize performance and adapt to changing conditions. Alexander Maier’s EisBaer, energy management system integrates the charging points in the smart home.

Smedley: How can the energy in the smart home be used effectively?

Alexander Maier GmbH asked itself this question 15 years ago and created the »EisBaer« home energy management system. With the rise of electromobility over the last few years, it is now becoming increasingly urgent to also consider the charging points in the HEMS (home energy management system).

Smedley: How can the energy that is self-produced in the smart home be used most effectively?

Rieck: Of course, this must also be designed to be convenient. With our EisBaer HEMS software-hardware package, a fully operational energy management system is available, and we can start using it immediately. EisBaer HEMS is therefore a system for efficiently distributing, storing, and using energy. All producers such as the PV system and all consumers (heat pump, electric car, electricity storage, and household appliances) are coordinated by EisBaer’s algorithms in such a way that electricity costs are minimized and independence from the energy supplier is increased. By efficiently splitting the available energy, the EisBaer-HEMS enables a comfortable lifestyle and automatic energy savings.

For this purpose, the devices are networked via KNX. For example, battery storage can be used. Meters know which electricity is drawn from the grid or produced from the PV system. The electricity is then distributed to where it is needed. In addition, the data of the PV system, the batteries, the electricity, water, and gas supply are visualized. The all new EisBaer Energy manager component now operates with energy pricing information as well as predicted solar forecast to schedule tasks around your energy consumption. For instance, load your washing machine or dishwasher and leave it to the Energy manager to schedule the start based on the cheapest grid energy or the most gain from your PV system. Cloud computing services can even include AI (artificial intelligence) to incorporate forecasts.

EisBaer HEMS makes surpluses visible and signals them so that certain devices can be started via KNX, such as charging a boiler electrically or switching on charging stations. Then, for example, the charging stations can use the maximum current without overloading the house connection. The EisBaer HEMS controller calculates the energy that is still available and prioritizes which consumers receive how much energy. The user can also change the prioritization at any time, for example according to the season or if life circumstances should change. The HEMS then carries out the calculations according to the newly set priorities.

The controller itself fits on a DIN rail. A software module even offers the option of exchanging data with the energy supplier and integrating a demand-response function. This would also make it possible to react to changing tariffs in the future. In addition to KNX Secure, the AM-EIS-400-47 HEMS controller also has a Modbus interface if there are corresponding systems in the house.

In addition, Alexander Maier offers the 10-in. touch panel “AM-EIS-360-70,” which displays the energy consumption and can be used to control it. For example, it signals whether energy is available to start other devices that are not yet integrated into KNX and therefore cannot be started fully automatically.

The software can also be accessed via a browser, so you can see how the electricity is currently being distributed, whether and how much electricity is currently being drawn from the energy supplier, whether the house is currently working independently, and whether it is even possible to feed the self-generated energy into the grid.

Smedley: How are the charging stations integrated?

Rieck: There are basically two different methods: using static or dynamic load management. In the static case, a certain power is reserved for the charging stations in question. The consumers in the house only get the rest of this power, which can be made available via the house connection, the PV system, and the storage tank. Therefore, preference should be given to dynamic load management, because then no fixed power share is reserved for the charging stations from the outset, i.e., it is blocked for the rest of the house. Now the energy that is available from all parts of the building (house connection, PV system, energy storage) is considered. The energy currently required by the household is deducted from this. Anything left over can be given to charging stations and household appliances or, if necessary, used to charge the storage system. In the static case, the car is supplied with the allocated electricity at the charging station. If it’s just a charging point in the house, that might still be easy to do.

Smedley: But what happens if a second resident wants to charge their car at a second charging station? Or when the waking machine suddenly turns on?

Rieck: Then even the house connection fuse could be triggered. That’s exactly why there is energy management, precisely to efficiently distribute the energy that is available. Then, for example, the washing machine can start at the right time. In this way, the house fuse is not overloaded, and the energy generated by the PV system is used optimally, i.e., in the way that is most convenient and cheapest for the residents of the house. The number of charging points will increase significantly. Therefore, they must be integrated into the home energy management system. One way to do this is with the EisBaer system from Alexander Maier GmbH.

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