Small logo of ETH main building ETH Zurich : Computer Science : Pervasive Computing : Distributed Systems : Education : SmartEnergy HS2019

Smart Energy

Prof. Dr. Friedemann Mattern
Dr. Vlad Coroama

Where and when:

Wednesday, 13:15 – 15:00, (Link to course catalogue)


The lecture covers the role of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) for sustainable energy usage. It starts out with a general background on the current landscape of energy generation and consumption and outlines concepts of the emerging smart grid. The lecture combines technologies from ubiquitous computing and traditional ICT with socio-economic and behavioral aspects and illustrates them with examples from actual applications.

Specific topics include:

  • Background on energy generation and consumption; characteristics, potential, and limitations of renewable energy sources.
  • Introduction to energy economics.
  • Smart grid and smart metering infrastructures, virtual power plants, security challenges.
  • Demand management and home automation using ubiquitous computing technologies.
  • Changing consumer behavior with smart ICT.
  • Benefits and challenges of a smart energy system.
  • Smart heating, electric mobility.


Participants become familiar with the diverse challenges related to sustainable energy usage, understand the principles of a smart grid infrastructure and its applications, know the role of ubiquitous computing technologies, can explain the challenges regarding security and privacy, can reflect on the basic cues to induce changes in consumer behavior, develop a general understanding of the effects of a smart grid infrastructure on energy efficiency. Participants will apply the learnings in a course-accompanying project, which includes both programming and data analysis. The lecture further includes smaller interactive exercises, case studies, and practical examples.

Project and Grading

The larger course-accompanying project will start in the 3rd week of the semester and finish two weeks before the semester ends. It represents a compulsory continuous performance assessment task (i.e., ‘obligatorisches Leistungselement’), and is awarded a grade that counts towards the total course-unit grade. Not taking part in the project yields a grade of 1.0 for its share of the overall grade.

Project files (same login as slides):

Overall grading: 25% for the practical group project; 75% oral exam.


Learning Material

Lecture Date Slides Content
1 18.09.2018 Energy-Lecture-19-01.pdf
Introduction: Energy and electricity, energy usage
2 25.09.2018 Energy-Lecture-19-02.pdf

Course-accompanying project: description
Intro to the course-accompanying project; short Android tutorial
3 02.10.2018 Energy-Lecture-19-03.pdf World energy demand, electricity production
4 09.10.2018 Energy-Lecture-19-04.pdf Electricity: generation, transport, distribution
5 16.10.2018 Energy-Lecture-19-05.pdf Smart grid
6 23.10.2018 Energy-Lecture-19-06.pdf Smart metering
7 30.10.2018 Energy-Lecture-19-07.pdf Demand response
8 06.11.2018 Energy-Lecture-19-08.pdf Digitalisation for energy awareness, behavioural interventions
9 13.11.2018 Energy-Lecture-19-09.pdf The energy consumption of digitalisation (part 1)
10 20.11.2018 Energy-Lecture-19-10_1.pdf
The energy consumption of digitalisation (part 2), non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM)
11 27.11.2018 Energy-Lecture-19-11.pdf NILM (part 2), smart heating (part 1)
12 04.12.2018 Energy-Lecture-19-12.pdf Smart heating (part 2), smart grid security, historic energy costs
13 11.12.2018 Energy-Lecture-19-13.pdf Abatement potential of digitalisation, rebound effects, digitalisation and sustainability
14 18.12.2018 Student project presentations


If you have questions regarding the lecture, please contact Vlad Coroama.
ETH ZurichDistributed Systems Group
Last updated May 28 2024 09:05:34 PM MET vc