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Journal of Computer Networks and Communications
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 932181, 12 pages
Review Article

A Survey of Communications and Networking Technologies for Energy Management in Buildings and Home Automation

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of North Carolina Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28223-0001, USA

Received 11 June 2011; Accepted 5 December 2011

Academic Editor: Tin-Yu Wu

Copyright © 2012 Aravind Kailas et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


With the exploding power consumption in private households and increasing environmental and regulatory restraints, the need to improve the overall efficiency of electrical networks has never been greater. That being said, the most efficient way to minimize the power consumption is by voluntary mitigation of home electric energy consumption, based on energy-awareness and automatic or manual reduction of standby power of idling home appliances. Deploying bi-directional smart meters and home energy management (HEM) agents that provision real-time usage monitoring and remote control, will enable HEM in “smart households.” Furthermore, the traditionally inelastic demand curve has began to change, and these emerging HEM technologies enable consumers (industrial to residential) to respond to the energy market behavior to reduce their consumption at peak prices, to supply reserves on a as-needed basis, and to reduce demand on the electric grid. Because the development of smart grid-related activities has resulted in an increased interest in demand response (DR) and demand side management (DSM) programs, this paper presents some popular DR and DSM initiatives that include planning, implementation and evaluation techniques for reducing energy consumption and peak electricity demand. The paper then focuses on reviewing and distinguishing the various state-of-the-art HEM control and networking technologies, and outlines directions for promoting the shift towards a society with low energy demand and low greenhouse gas emissions. The paper also surveys the existing software and hardware tools, platforms, and test beds for evaluating the performance of the information and communications technologies that are at the core of future smart grids. It is envisioned that this paper will inspire future research and design efforts in developing standardized and user-friendly smart energy monitoring systems that are suitable for wide scale deployment in homes.