Become a member  |  Member Login

The Smart Grid

AHAM is engaged in the development of smart appliances and related policies, and provides a unique perspective of the home appliance industry and its consumers whose products will be integrated with the nation's future Smart Grid resulting in the next generation of efficiency gains. The objective of the Smart Grid is to provide technology and systems that will allow consumers to automatically control their energy use and costs.  

AHAM believes that in order for the Smart Grid to be successful, there are three essential requirements for the Smart Grid's interaction with consumers:

  1. Pricing must provide incentives to manage energy use more efficiently and enable consumers to save money.
  2. Communication standards must be open, flexible, secure and limited in number.
  3. Consumer choice & privacy must be respected; the consumer is the decision maker.

Smart Appliances at 2012 International CES

AHAM hosted a panel discussion on Smart Appliances at the 2012 International CES in Las Vegas. More information about the panel discussion can be found here.

Published Documents: White Paper & Communications Study

AHAM's position on the Smart Grid is fully explained in AHAM's white paper.

As a follow-up report to the white paper, AHAM completed an Assessment of Communication Standards for Smart Appliances, The Home Appliance Industry's Technical Evaluation of Communication Protocols which is the industry's technical evaluation of the multitude of existing communications protocols designed for the Smart Grid.

The assessment was built with a focus on consumers' needs.  To represent those needs accurately, AHAM's approach was to use appliance consumers' requirements to drive identification of the best protocols to use for Smart Grid interfaces.  In Six Sigma language, this is called the Voice of the Customer.  To represent this voice, AHAM chose to use the Quality Function Deployment (QFD) tool.  The QFD analysis can be reviewed by following this link.

Disclaimer:  AHAM’s study titled “Assessment of Communication Standards for Smart Appliances” is a technical evaluation of communication protocols for smart appliances by considering them relative to explicitly stated appliance customer needs at this time. AHAM has not endorsed any protocols. AHAM’s Assessment does specifically state under the Proven Interoperability Requirement:

“Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and HomePlug Green PHY are proven interoperable technologies based on open specifications with a high degree of standards reuse.  These are the top three most suitable communication protocols based on the analysis and have virtually indistinguishable benefits for smart grid applications for appliances interfacing with consumers.”

Therefore, any attempt to assign a specific preference or recommendation by AHAM of one particular communication protocol based on this Assessment is inappropriate.

Questions or comments on the study may be directed to AHAM staff.


AHAM partnered with efficiency organizations to submit a petition to the ENERGY STAR program to recognize the benefits of smart appliances and to jump start the smart grid.  This petition, which is part of the agreement between appliance manufacturers and energy efficiency advocates, asks the ENERGY STAR program to incorporate a 5% credit to the energy performance level required to meet ENERGY STAR eligibility criteria for smart-grid enabled appliances as soon as possible.  Click here for a copy of the petition.

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) recently completed a cost/benefit analysis for the Department of Energy (DOE), which was included with the petition.  PNNL determined that the annual benefits from having smart grid capabilities in an appliances are greater than the costs of an equivalent 5% increase in operational machine efficiencies.
DOE Cost Benefit Analysis on Smart Appliances

Additional Resources

Department of Energy (DOE)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)

AHAM Smart Grid Task Force

Link for AHAM members