Tailored energy efficiency campaigns that make use of household-specific information can trigger substantial energy savings in the residential sector. The information required for such campaigns, however, is often missing. We show that utility companies can extract that information from smart meter data using machine learning. We derive 133 features from smart meter and weather data and use the Random Forest classifier that allows us to recognize 19 household classes related to 11 household characteristics (e.g., electric heating, size of dwelling) with an accuracy of up to 95% (69% on average). The results indicate that even datasets with an hourly or daily resolution are sufficient to impute key household characteristics with decent accuracy and that data from different yearly seasons does not considerably influence the classification performance. Furthermore, we demonstrate that a small training data set consisting of only 200 households already reaches a good performance. Our work may serve as benchmark for upcoming, similar research on smart meter data and provide guidance for practitioners for estimating the efforts of implementing such analytics solutions.
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The municipality where the utility is located had approximately 14,000 inhabitants in 2015, the average municipality in Switzerland in the same year had M = 3638 (SD = 12,016) inhabitants (Swiss Federal Statistical Office 2017)
R version: 3.4.2; ‘randomForest’ package version 4.6–12
We tested four other classifiers that are based on complementary model types and found that Random Forest outperforms the other algorithms. The differences in AUC results were significant for kNN (paired t-test, t(30) = 2.683, p-value <0.01), Naïve Bayes (paired t-test, t(30) = 2.2125, p-value <0.05), SVM (t(30) = 1.6048, p-value <0.1), but not for AdaBoost.
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We thank Ilya Kozlovskiy for his contribution to the data analysis in this study. We kindly acknowledge financial support from the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (Grant numbers SI/501053-01, SI/501202-01) and want to thank Michael Moser and Roland Brüniger for the very helpful comments during the research project.
Responsible Editor: Jan Krämer
Appendix: full list of features
Appendix: full list of features
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Hopf, K., Sodenkamp, M. & Staake, T. Enhancing energy efficiency in the residential sector with smart meter data analytics. Electron Markets 28, 453–473 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12525-018-0290-9
- Green information systems
- Decision support systems
- Data analytics
- Energy efficiency