Making the Smart Grid smarter

L-R: Frank Lasowski (President and CEO, Milton Hydro), Gord Ellis (Chief Technology Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Energent), Ian Rowlands (Professor & Associate Director at University of Waterloo), and Deep Mehta (home owner)

Colleagues at the University of Waterloo are turning homeowners into energy managers with web-based management tool
A Conservation Fund case study

University of Waterloo case study

“By turning every electricity consumer – homeowner, farmer, retail store owner etc. – into an active energy manager with a role to play in optimizing the smart grid, it could work to its highest potential.”
-- Ian Rowlands
Professor of Environment and
   Resource Studies, University of  

With smart meters now installed in most homes and businesses in Ontario, the province is well on the way to achieving a comprehensive “smart grid” where automated controls help make our electricity system more reliable, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective for utilities and consumers.

But is it possible to make the smart grid even smarter?

About the Project
Ian Rowlands, Professor of Environment and Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo, and his colleagues believed it could.

They had the idea to create a web-based energy management tool, called the Energy Hub Management System, to collect information about each appliance, then deliver the results to the homeowner via the web portal. Homeowners could then see user-friendly charts and graphs that showed their energy use, device by device.

With funding from the Ontario Centres of Excellence’s Special Energy Fund and the Conservation Fund, a team of public and private sector partners designed, built and installed the system in a trial group of Ontario homes and industrial sites. The first succesful test phase ended in early 2013.

Next, recently added tools will take the information and analyze it against factors such as the homeowner’s preferences, local weather and electricity market prices. The system can then deliver recommended energy-management strategies, such as pre-cooling the house so that it will stay in the cooled range later.

Mouse over the thumbnails to see images from the project.

The Energy Hub Management System and the Conservation Fund
Andrew Pride, Ontario Power Authority’s Vice President of Conservation, believes that “making the smart grid as smart as possible will benefit consumers, who will gain a way to save on their energy bills, and it will help utilities be more efficient as well. The environment will gain, too, as reduced demand leads to reduced carbon impacts.”

Find our more
Read the full story in the printable University of Waterloo case study.

If you’d like more information about the Energy Hub Management System project, visit

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