Understanding energy demand behaviors through spatio-temporal smart meter data analysis

Zhibin Niu, Junqi Wu, Xiufeng Liu*, Lizhen Huang, Per Sieverts Nielsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Energy demand-side management, especially empowered by the fine-grained smart meter data, plays a significant role in the rational allocation of energy, monitoring and supervision of energy consumption behaviors. Through the in-depth demand analysis including quantification of energy consumption dynamics and consumer preferences, energy decision-makers can develop reasonable and forethoughtful energy efficiency plans and demand-response programs. Previous work in energy-demand behavioral research relied primarily on ideal socio-economic models or data-driven approaches, both of which lack flexibility, intuition and interpretability. This paper proposes a novel spatio-temporal visual analysis approach for urban energy consumption pattern discovery in order to identify energy-saving potentials, plan energy supply and improve energy efficiency. In this approach, energy consumption time series are embeded into a two-dimensional scatterplot for coordinated visual exploration. Users can interactively explore and discover different patterns for decision-making purposes. In addition, we propose the method for modeling energy demand shift patterns based on a potential flow method and integrate it into a pattern exploration tool. The proposed approach is comprehensively evaluated through empirical studies using the real-world electricity consumption data from Pudong district, Shanghai. We identify five typical energy consumption patterns and demand shift patterns across different geographical locations, which can be well interpreted by the knowledge of energy consumption in the area of interest. The results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach and the tool. This tool can be integrated into smart energy systems for a better understanding of user energy consumption behaviors and preferences.
Original languageEnglish
Article number120493
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Visual analysis
  • Pattern discovery
  • Energy consumption
  • Pattern explorer
  • Spatio-temporal patterns


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