Innovation In Field Research — An Army of Citizen Scientists

 

Pecan Street’s research expertise was born in Austin’s Mueller neighborhood, where we equipped existing homes with advanced energy monitoring equipment. Since 2009, our network of volunteer research participants has grown in number and geography, as well as in research scope and expertise.

Our research network includes 1,115 active participants, including more than 250 solar customers and 65 electric vehicle owners. Each home’s energy generation and use is measured at intervals ranging from one second to one minute — 24/7/365 — and can be viewed securely by participants via a phone app or browser. Hosted on-site and protected with DOE-level security, our energy database is the largest real-world open energy database on the planet. It’s available (securely, without participant identification) to university researchers and Pecan Street’s clients.

This unique network allows researchers to simulate use and generation scenarios and quickly deploy hardware or software for testing to an enthusiastic and savvy user base. We offer field testing for technical certification (like UL-certified) and for proof-of-concept or performance verification of energy and water solutions.

For water conservation technologies, products can be deployed in our Leak Detection, Measurement and Verification (LDMV) Platform, which includes homes in the Austin, Houston and San Antonio areas equipped with high-resolution water monitoring equipment that reports water consumption at the sub-minute, sub-gallon level. This data resolution enables Pecan Street to identify leaks in the home, disaggregate water use into major appliances, and evaluate the impacts of conservation products and services.


Innovation In the Lab – Invent, Test, Verify

Pecan Street’s testing and verification lab is specially configured for testing hardware or software that generates or manages power at the building or device level, communicates wirelessly or integrates energy use data into its operations – including water measurement and metering products and technology.

We specialize in developing, testing and validating consumer electronics and applications that incorporate metrology, building controls, solar PV, natural gas fuel cell, machine-to-machine, vehicle charging and disaggregation technologies.

The 3-story, 3,800 square-foot lab is equipped with multiple workstations and testing configurations. It has a split-phase 800A electrical service, south- and west-facing solar arrays, multiple conduit raceways, AC and DC distribution buses, all LED lighting, a full building automation system, and zonal refrigerant air conditioning. With a full set of appliance stub-outs on every floor, the lab can simulate three residential structures for demand response, fuel cell and building management scenario testing. The lab can also test natural gas fuel cell or combined heat and power micro-turbines up to 10-15kWp output.

And that’s just the building. Led by engineers that pioneered Pecan Street’s sophisticated data collection process, our staff has invented wireless measurement technology and microgrid prototypes and works with companies to test and verify their hardware and software innovations.


Innovation in the Cloud — A World of Energy Data

Pecan Street developed, hosts and maintains the largest database of consumer electricity and water use in the world.

Born from our groundbreaking research, our database grows by 750 million records a day and is used — in real time — by more than 2,000 university researchers from 60 countries.

Pecan Street’s datasets provide a pathway to enhanced grid stability by providing information on grid conditions at the point of use. With an understanding of how popular technologies impact the grid, solutions that enhance grid stability and capacity rather than contributing to instability can be adopted. Distributed storage, automated demand response, improved lighting ballasts, power supplies and grid control products can all mitigate or eliminate existing electricity challenges if they are developed using data that details the issues correctly.

Pecan Street provides a globally unique dataset to researchers investigating residential energy, power systems and water conservation. Our database of high-resolution electricity measurements from hundreds of homes spanning the past several years is unparalleled by any other data source. Circuit-level energy use data from hundreds of homes is provided for free to the research community via Pecan Street’s Dataport website and to businesses through our commercial license program.

Visit Dataport or email info@pecanstreet.org for more information on licensing opportunities.