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Is your washing machine “soluble” in Smart Grid? | SmartFuture

Is your washing machine “soluble” in Smart Grid?

Posted by on Nov 19, 2011 in Blog

Do you have any idea of your washing machine energy cost? No?

Don’t worry; you are not alone, because only a few people know it, really, today.

But is this the right question?

Many years ago, when the kWh cost was known and represented the biggest part of your electricity bill, the cost did not really matter, because we had to do laundry anyway. At most, an informed housewife started her machine after 10 pm to take advantage of off-peak hours.

Those early days will soon be over. Thanks to smart grid, home automation, smart metering, variable costs, voluntary or monetized shedding programs improving grid constraints, all of it combined with in-home displays, the housekeeper will soon receive a message on his mobile advising the best possible time slots for its washing day.

Alas then, the right question in the near future could be: At what time will I finally be allowed to wash my clothes?

Fortunately, it is unlikely for this scenario to happen.

First, either because the dream of a stupid and pervasive home automation invasion could fail in front of householders’ closed doors, or, second and more likely, because the electrical equipment manufacturers will eventually take this unique opportunity to make their products more communicative and thus more intelligent.

Whirlpool, but also some others, is already leading the way with its “Smart Appliance” program. It seeks to develop and market home appliances connected to a radio network and controlled by software to optimize their operation and consumption, as well to integrate them into demand-response programs in connection with utilities.

Finally,

washing your clothes could become easier and less expensive. And it’s actually your washing machine (and not yourself) that will know exactly the best time to start washing, and at what price. In this optimistic future, hopefully coming soon, we will simply put laundry in the machine, and later in the evening or the next day, we will receive a notification from the washing machine, telling that the laundry is now ready to be picked up and that the electricity cost of the cleaning was $2.5, which, by the way, was the best possible price that day/week.

We have to hope that the need of energy savings and the expected growth of smart meters, will push appliance manufacturers to quickly switch to the era of communication and thus greatly increase the usage value of their products. One condition however for this to happen, is that standards and communication technologies get advanced enough for this industry, deemed to be one of the most conservative and conformist in the world.

No doubt, smart meters deployment success all over the world, will also depend on the capacity of appliance manufacturers to design smarter appliances more integrated in smart grid communication networks.

Paul Bertrand.

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    4 Comments

  1. Paul c’est un bel exercice de prospective. Demeure au moins deux interrogations :
    – quand cela va-t-il arriver ?
    – comment les usages pertinents vont-ils émerger ? Je me souviens des premières démonstrations début des années 2000 où on allumait une lampe par un clic sur internet. Puis c’est le frigo qui était censé générer la liste des courses automatiquement. Les fabricants d’électroménager doivent certes mener des études techniques et intégrer de l’intelligence et de la télécommunication dans leur produits, mais il doivent d’abord mettre l’utilisateur au centre de leur réflexion et déterminer quelles applications sont pertinentes et acceptable d’un point de vue comportementale. Les sciences humaines sont là pour les aider dans ces recherches amont.
    Jacques Allard

    • – Quand cela va-t-il arriver ?
      Pas avant quelques années en France mais surement avant aux USA ou en Asie . Cependant cela arrivera nécessairement à mon avis. A la fois sous la pression du coût de l’énergie dans les années à venir et des programmes d’effacement.
      -Les usages pertinents ?
      Aujourd’hui on commence à trouver des prises compteuses permettant aussi de couper les charges. Une fois l’écosystème en place, et les Telco ont là un rôle immense à jouer pour lever ce verrou, les fabricants d’électroménager intègreront directement la mesure et la commande dans leurs systèmes. Les interfaces socialement acceptées viendront alors automatiquement. On y est presque, il suffit qu’un standard parmi ceux existant aujourd’hui (Zigbee, 6lowpan, Zwave, Wifi…) gagne la bataille.

  2. Examen des choses intéressant, de même que le commentaire de Jacques.
    Reste que 2,5 € d’électricité, cela signifie peut-être que c’est grâce au “système intelligent” que l’on a consommé 21 kWh, là où avec le seul lave-linge, on en aurait consommé que 6 !!!
    Mais on va y arriver, on va y arriver …
    Philippe Esparcieux

    • Oui 2,5 € n’est pas le prix moyen d’une machine moyenne aujourd’hui (moins de 50 centimes). Mais dans quelques années, qui peut dire ce que sera le cout facturé par les fournisseurs ? Il faudra bien un jour payer le vrai prix de l’énergie notamment en incluant le démantèlement de nos centrales nucléaires ainsi que diverses provisions compensant l’usure des ressources non renouvelables.

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