EIS Alliance to simplify and accelerate development of home energy management systems


Chris Kotting,
Executive Director,
EIS Alliance
Morgan Hill, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — March 4, 2013 – The Energy Information Standards (EIS) Alliance has begun work on the problem of interoperability between different manufacturers’ home energy management products, and between those products and the smart grid.

Coming out of meetings last October in Atlanta, and follow-up discussions in January, industry stakeholders identified two significant gaps in the home energy management marketplace: lack of common communications between consumer products, and lack of common communication between those devices and the grid. The EIS Alliance is working with appliance and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) manufacturers, home entertainment and home automation companies, retailers, utilities, service providers and consumer groups on two parallel projects to resolve these issues.

Different manufacturers and groups have developed different ways of signaling equipment energy use, resources and availability. In addition, companies are often concerned about sharing detailed information about their products with devices from other manufacturers or with outside service providers. These different expressions of what are fundamentally common ideas, along with concerns about sharing details, limits the ability of these systems to work together.

“The development of a common expression of fundamental, or abstract, information, for HEMS is crucial for manufacturers and service providers to develop systems that allow for different appliances, HVAC, lighting, entertainment and other home systems to work together,” said Chris Kotting, executive director of the EIS Alliance. “These systems may each use different ways of expressing information internally, and having a common expression all can refer to will allow them to communicate needed data, and only needed data, for intelligent coordination.”

The parallel project is the development of a similar abstract expression between customer owned systems and those of utilities and other service providers, i.e. the energy services interface (ESI). This will allow different systems and architectures to operate inside and outside the home, but still allow for needed communication and coordination.

The Alliance’s intention with both these projects is to use published data models coming out of the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) as a foundation for developing an abstraction that allows for needed communication, while protecting different manufacturers’ design integrity.

The EIS Alliance was created to develop a common framework for customer equipment to use, generate, and communicate energy data.