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The Living Lab Comes to Life: Wiser

We are in the midst of a blog series focused on our experiences in the Living Lab, which is a home that aims to leverage advanced products and systems to demonstrate and educate both industry and consumers alike. Last week, we took a look at the three big benefits of motorized shades. Today, let’s look at a home energy monitoring system.

The residential sector accounts for about 21% of the total U.S. energy consumption, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy. Of the energy used in U.S. homes in 2015, 55% of it was used for heating and cooling. Water heating, appliances, electronics, and lighting accounted for the remaining 45% of total consumption. Builders can change all this. Homeowners can save between 5-30% on their home energy bills by making home energy upgrades typically identified in a home-energy assessment. Certainly, home energy monitoring systems can help collect such data to make informed decisions about how to improve energy consumption in a home as well.

For the Living Lab, we selected Schneider Electric’s Wiser Energy, which monitors the electricity in a home, helping to manage power usage. The system uses machine learning to look at all the power in your home and pick apart the individual devices that are on and off.

Building on this, it can also provide circuit level control using the new Wiser Control Relays, which is a modular and scalable system, for backup power and advanced load management. Homeowners can choose to swap out an individual impacted relay without having to replace the entire load center. Even more, technology can automate which loads to power on in the event of a power outage to extend the life of any battery backup system.

Like most energy monitoring systems, Wiser Energy home power monitor enables remote monitoring and management through the Square D edition of the Sense app. Using the app, homeowners can set alert goals, estimate monthly energy bills, create custom notifications, see solar generation, and decide which circuits to turn on based on time of use in order to increase energy savings. Also, over time, using machine learning, the app senses electrical activity and identifies electronics. Once your electronics are identified, a homeowner will have insight into energy use.


Similar to the recommended installer’s services for the motorized shades we explored last week, Schneider Electric strongly recommends the system is installed by a licensed electrician in your home’s electrical panel. However, the company also suggests it only takes a couple minutes to set up the app and to begin to start seeing the data.

Looking to the future, Schneider Electric suggests Wiser Energy will learn and grow with a homeowner. When first installed, it detects 12 devices throughout your home in the first month, and 25-30 devices after the first 12 months.

The Benefits

Also, similar to many other systems, Schneider offers the Sense app. The Wiser Energy System offers similar long-term benefits. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits is knowing how much energy we are spending and saving, being able to track those savings, and being able to set energy goals to reduce waste.

Taking this idea even a step further as a homeowner we can easily spot where energy is being spent and when, and then we can use that information to save energy in the long run.

Here at the Living Lab, so far, our energy is 1/3 less than other homes in our area, according to our Sense app. That is truly exciting so witness.

So, between our motorized shades, appliances, lighting, and the other measures we are taking, we are in fact reducing our energy consumption. But only time will tell if our home gets smarter—or if we get smarter—and continues to save even more energy in the future.

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