The Building Electric Appliances, Devices, and Systems (BEADS) subprogram is an Emerging Technologies research portfolio dedicated to the use of electricity in residential and commercial buildings beyond core technology areas. Portfolio activities focus on electric appliances, plug loads, and other miscellaneous electric loads (MELs), the sensors and building infrastructure these devices interface with, and protocols for providing system-level efficiency across the manifold electric loads present in modern buildings. The BEADS subprogram, in conjunction with core technology portfolios in Building Equipment, Lighting R&D, Building Controls, and Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings, ensures the Emerging Technologies Program promotes research, development, and validation of energy-saving technologies across all electric end uses.

Miscellaneous Electric Loads in Buildings.

Projects in the BEADS portfolio are motivated by an evolving, diverse set of end uses in the built environment. As energy efficiency in lighting and HVAC has improved, plug loads have become more numerous, and connected devices more commonplace. Refrigeration, laundry, cooking, and dishwashing in residential buildings account for more than 200 TWh (14%) of annual site electricity consumption. Beyond these major appliances, MELs are responsible for 20–40% of building electricity use, a steadily growing proportion. Trends toward building electrification, the proliferation of electric-vehicle charging, and the integration of distributed energy resources present novel challenges and opportunities for optimizing the systems and hardware that handle electricity behind the meter. Despite this growing complexity, consumers cannot easily obtain detailed information about their electricity use, and buildings typically lack the sensing and device capabilities to provide electricity as efficiently and intelligently as possible.

BTO is committed to addressing the diversity and growth of end uses for electricity in buildings and empowering researchers, consumers, and building owners with information and best practices to optimize electricity use.

BEADS strategic priorities and ongoing work fall under the portfolio subtopics below.

  • Plug Loads and Miscellaneous Electric Loads
  • Major Electric Appliances
  • Sensors, Meters, and Load Disaggregation
  • Behind-the-Meter Electrical Infrastructure