Article: 'On the Bayesian optimization and robustness of event detection methods in NILM'

De Baets, L. et al., 2017. On the Bayesian optimization and robustness of event detection methods in NILM. Energy and Buildings, 145, pp.57–66. Available at:


A basic but crucial step to increase efficiency and save energy in residential settings is to have an accurate view of energy consumption. To monitor residential energy consumption cost-effectively, i.e., without relying on per-device monitoring equipment, non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM) provides an elegant solution. The aim of NILM is to disaggregate the total power consumption (as measured, e.g., by smart meters at the grid connection point of the household) into individual devices’ power consumption, using machine learning techniques. An essential building block of NILM is event detection: detecting when appliances are switched on or off. Current state-of-the-art methods face two open issues. First, they are typically not robust to differences in base load power consumption and secondly, they require extensive parameter optimization. In this paper, both problems are addressed. First two novel and robust algorithms are proposed: a modified version of the chi-squared goodness-of-fit (χ2 GOF) test and an event detection method based on cepstrum smoothing. Then, a workflow using surrogate-based optimization (SBO) to efficiently tune these methods is introduced. Benchmarking on the BLUED dataset shows that both suggested algorithms outperform the standard χ2 GOF test for traces with a higher base load and that they can be optimized efficiently using SBO.

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