Giving to Duke

Is Your Refrigerator Running?

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We all know the joke, “Is your refrigerator running? Then you better catch it!” Well, one Postdoctoral Energy Fellow is taking this idea very seriously. Kyle Bradbury M.Sc.’08, Ph.D.’13 co-leads a Bass Connections project team with Professor Richard Newell, Director of the Duke Energy Initiative, that is exploring how smart meter technology can be used to save energy and cut costs.

Smart meters use relatively new technology to produce real-time feedback on energy use. Bradbury’s team applies energy disaggregated algorithms to data collected from meters on Duke’s Campus to pinpoint how specific appliances—from computers to that pesky refrigerator—use energy. Their aim is to discover useful ways electricity customers can identify and fix inefficiencies.

“No energy problem can be solved in a vacuum.” says Bradbury. His team, which is comprised of faculty members and students from the Nicholas School of the Environment, the Pratt School of Engineering, and the Energy Initiative, will work with the behavioral science community to answer questions such as, “How much data do consumers need to change their behavior?” The beauty of the Energy Initiative, and Bass Connections, is that energy questions are considered with a wide lens.