Evaluation of Residential Room Air Conditioner Control with Smart Plugs for Peak Load Reduction
The smart plug device chosen for evaluation is called a Thinkeco Modlet. The modlet is designed specifically for controlling existing room air conditioners in response to demand response (DR) events. The thermostat provides the ability of the modlet to control ACs plugged into the modlet, based on indoor temperature conditions. By enabling existing room ACs operating during critical times to respond to DR events, smart plugs like the modlet offer potential for automated peak load reduction to utilities. A Friedrich Kuhl room air conditioner with Wifi connectivity was tested under modlet control as well as without modlet control.
The modlet was first field tested to control existing air conditioning units of customers before being lab-tested with a connective window air conditioner. The field trial identified different types of impacts achieved with ACs under modlet control. Types of impacts included: full impact (ACs cycled off throughout a DR event); reduced duty cycles; delayed cycling; partial impact; or no impact achieved (due to user override and/or lack of AC utilization during a DR event).