Alan Meier, PhD, Rich Brown, MA, and Steven Lanzisera, PhD from the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) are seeking homeowners for a study funded by the US Department of Energy on the energy use of plug-in devices in homes. The information gathered will increase understanding of how plug-in devices such as TVs, computers, games, and toaster ovens use energy in a residential setting, as well help improve the methods for measuring, estimating, and modeling of residential use of plug-in devices.

Interested homeowners must complete an online screening survey. Researchers will review all submitted surveys and select two households for the study. Surveys submitted by respondents who were not selected will be destroyed at the end of the study.

For households selected for the study, research activities will begin with an inventory of all the plug-in electrical devices in the home. Researchers will use video to streamline the inventory process and record plug-in devices. Researchers will then install plug-load electricity meters, a router, and a whole house meter, to monitor the energy use for six months. Installing the equipment will take about six hours and researchers will schedule a convenient time for the homeowner. At the conclusion of the study, researchers will ask the homeowner for a convenient four-hour time slot to conduct a follow-up interview and remove the metering equipment. Homeowners' overall time involvement will be about 20 hours to allow researchers to install and remove monitoring equipment, to be interviewed by researchers, and to allow researchers to check monitoring equipment, if needed. Researchers will be on call to troubleshoot any issues that might arise.

Participating homeowners may see their electricity usage increase by approximately $4 a month as a result of the plug-load metering devices which over the six months period of the study may have a total cost of about $24. However, savings opportunities identified by researchers over the course of the study could result in a savings of more than $24 if the homeowner chooses to adopt the researchers' recommendations. At the end of the study homeowners will have the option of keeping the whole house electricity meter. Researchers will provide the homeowner with the hardcopy instructions for the meter and a link to the (identical) electronic version.


  1. Homeowners must be at least 18 years old;
  2. Homeowners must live in their own single-family home that is within ten miles of LBNL; and
  3. Homeowners will be residing in their home for the six month study period and only away for periods of up to seven days at a time.


If you are interested in participating in this study, please fill out this survey by July 21, 2010.

Researchers will select two houses and will notify survey respondents within two weeks after the selection process has been completed.