Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type

Dissertation (CMU Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Mario Berges


This dissertation explores the problem of energy estimation in supervised Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring (NILM). NILM refers to a set of techniques used to estimate the electricity consumed by individual loads in a building from measurements of the total electrical consumption. Most commonly, NILM works by first attributing any significant change in the total power consumption (also known as an event) to a specific load and subsequently using these attributions (i.e. the labels for the events) to estimate energy for each load. For this last step, most proposed solutions in the field impart simplifying assumptions to make the problem more tractable. This has severely limited the practicality of the proposed solutions. To address this knowledge gap, we present a framework for creating appliance models based on classification labels and aggregate power measurements that can help relax many of these assumptions. Within the framework, we model the problem of utilizing a sequence of event labels to generate energy estimates as a broader class of problems that has two major components (i) With the understanding that the labels arise from a process with distinct states and state transitions, we estimate the underlying Finite State Machine (FSM) model that most likely generated the observed sequence (ii) We allow for the observed sequence to have errors, and present an error correction algorithm to detect and correct them. We test the framework on data from 43 appliances collected from 19 houses and find that it improves errors in energy estimates when compared to the case with no correction in 19 appliances by a factor of 50, leaves 17 appliances unchanged, and negatively impacts 6 appliances by a factor of 1.4. This approach of utilizing event sequences to estimate energy has implications in virtual metering of appliances as well. In a case study, we utilize this framework in order to substitute the need of plug-level sensors with cheap and easily deployable contacless sensors, and find that on the 6 appliances virtually metered using magnetic field sensors, the inferred energy values have an average error of 10:9%.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.