People/Web Search Calendar Emergency Info A-Z Index UVA Email University of Virginia

Computer Science Colloquia

Friday, April 26, 2013
Md. Anindya Prodhan
Advisor: Kamin Whitehouse
Attending Faculty: Andrew Grimshaw (Chair); Gabriel Robins and Worthy Martin

9:00 AM, Rice Hall, Rm. 204

PhD Qualifying Exam Presentation
A Smarter Water Heater to Cool Down Your Energy Bill


In typical US homes, water heating is the largest energy consumer besides space heating and cooling, and it accounts for approximately 17% of residential energy consumption on average. This paper explores the hypothesis that a few sensors, algorithms, and controllers can reduce water heating energy at lower cost than conventional equipment upgrades. We propose a new smart water heater that automatically identifies which fixture is being used in order to heat and supply water only as hot as the fixture typically needs. This approach reduces energy waste by reducing the water temperature whenever possible, with little to no impact from the user's point of view. To evaluate this approach, we deployed sensors in five homes to monitor hot water usage patterns, and to compare the expected energy consumption of the smart water heater to that of a conventional water heater. Our results indicate that the smart water heater can reduce energy waste by nearly 2x in comparison to a conventional storage water heater, with only a marginal increase in cost.