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Thermostats for the Smart Grid: Models, Benchmarks, and Insights

Yong Liang, David I. Levine, and Zuo-Jun (Max) Shen

Year: 2012
Volume: Volume 33
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.33.4.4
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Abstract:
We model two existing thermostats and one novel thermostat to see how well they operate under dynamic pricing. The existing thermostats include a traditional thermostat with set temperature goals and a rigid thermostat that minimizes cost while always keeping temperature within a rigid predetermined range. We contrast both with a novel optimizing thermostat that finds the optimal trade-off between comfort and cost. We compare the thermostats’ performance both theoretically and via numerical simulations. The simulations show that, under plausible assumptions, the optimizing thermostat’s advantage is economically large. Importantly, the electricity demand of the rigid thermostat (but not the optimizing thermostat) ceases to respond to electricity prices on precisely the days when the electricity grid tends to be near capacity. These are the times when demand response is the most socially valuable to avoid massive price spikes. The social benefits of the optimizing thermostat may provide incentives for utilities and regulators to encourage its adoption. Keywords: Thermostat, Smart Grid, Dynamic Pricing, Optimization, Demand Response



The Effects of Fuel-Efficient Cookstoves on Fuel Use, Particulate Matter, and Cooking Practices: Results from a Randomized Trial in Rural Uganda

Theresa Beltramo, Garrick Blalock, Stephen Harrell, David I. Levine, and Andrew M. Simons

Year: 2023
Volume: Volume 44
Number: Number 6
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.44.6.tbel
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Abstract:
Smoky cookfires contribute to global climate change and kill approximately four million people annually. While many studies have examined the effects of fuel-efficient cookstoves, this study does so while selling stoves at market prices. After introducing a fuel-efficient cookstove, fuelwood use and household air particulates declined by 12% and by smaller percentages after adjusting for observer-induced bias, or the Hawthorne effect. These reductions were less than laboratory predictions and fell well short of World Health Organization pollution targets. Even when introducing a second stove, most households continued to use their traditional stoves for most cooking. Future research should focus on improving the usability of fuel-efficient cookstoves and/or policies that assist consumers to shift to safer fuels like gas or electricity coupled with mechanisms to disable the existing smoky cookfire.





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