Interleaved factorial non-homogeneous hidden Markov models for energy disaggregation

Research output: Working paper


To reduce energy demand in households it is useful to know which electrical appliances are in use at what times. Monitoring individual appliances is costly and intrusive, whereas data on overall household electricity use is more easily obtained. In this paper, we consider the energy disaggregation problem where a household's electricity consumption is disaggregated into the component appliances. The factorial hidden Markov model (FHMM) is a natural model to fit this data. We enhance this generic model by introducing two constraints on the state sequence of the FHMM. The first is to use a non-homogeneous Markov chain, modelling how appliance usage varies over the day, and the other is to enforce that at most one chain changes state at each time step. This yields a new model which we call the interleaved factorial non-homogeneous hidden Markov model (IFNHMM). We evaluated the ability of this model to perform disaggregation in an ultra-low frequency setting, over a data set of 251 English households. In this new setting, the IFNHMM outperforms the FHMM in terms of recovering the energy used by the component appliances, due to that stronger constraints have been imposed on the states of the hidden Markov chains. Interestingly, we find that the variability in model performance across households is significant, underscoring the importance of using larger scale data in the disaggregation problem.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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