By Brian FullerNumbers, history and technology are on a collision course inside your home.Consider the numbers:The big picture points to an even bigger opportunity for smart system design that can reduce power in and out of the chip.Since 1982, growth in peak demand for electricity has exceeded transmission growth by almost 25% every year. Yet spending on research and development – the first step toward innovation and renewal – lags.If every American household replaced one incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb, the conservation savings could light 3 million homes and save more than $600 million annually.Upwards of half of an average home’s electric bill pays for the “infrastructure mortgage” on the grid.Now some history: The electrical grid is a century old; power-plant construction has slowed to a trickle. Railroads, airlines and roads have been upgraded more regularly in that same century.Technology, of course, has exploded in the past four … [Read more...] about Home Sweet (Power-Hogging) Home?
Home energy saving programme
A new study from the Consumer Electronics Association found that energy efficiency technologies are the most popular amongst home automation options in American houses. Programmable and/or smart thermostats beat out home security and entertainment automation for the top honor, with 47 percent of households saying they had at least one. The findings, which come from an online survey of about 1000 people, would seem to be a win for energy efficiency. But most of the homes had programmable thermostats, which are often used incorrectly, if at all. One study from Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory [PDF] found that 89 percent of survey respondents rarely or never used the thermostat to set a weekday or weekend program. Seventy percent were not set at all. Programmable thermostats have been around for more than 30 years, but a new generation of smart thermostats that connect with smartphones and the Internet make programming far easier. Not only is the interface easier to use but some … [Read more...] about Is Energy Efficiency the Most Popular In-Home Automation?
Going on vacation for Memorial Day? Unless your water heater is tankless, it’s going to waste energy making hot H2O for showers you aren’t going to take. If it was smart, though, you could just whip out your phone while lounging at the lake and turn it off for a couple days. That’s the promise of Sunnovations’ Aquanta, a retrofittable device that turns your existing water heater into a sophisticated, energy-saving machine.We covered the Aquanta back when it launched an unsuccessful Kickstarter back in 2014. In the year and a half since, Sunnovations has been making improvements to it, inside and out. The small black box is now a small blue one, and the company also improved the user interface and control algorithms, CEO Matt Carlson tells Digital Trends. The Aquanta has been tested in hundreds of homes for about a year, too.“It turns out that water heater behavior and water-heating usage is actually incredibly complex, and I think that we’re … [Read more...] about The Aquanta turns your dumb water heater smart to save energy, H2O, and money
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. ClarkeHome automation. Smart house. Advanced home control. If those words conjure images of lights mysteriously flashing on and off at random times, fat piles of cash, and sweaty technicians huddled over their laptops programming for weeks at a time, then you need to read on. The truth about home automation today is that technology, competition and innovation have all ravaged its high-priced visage, putting it within virtually anyone’s grasp.Unless you’re Amish and out on your once-in-a-life Rumspringa (if you are out on Rumspringa and you’ve decided to read this site instead of snorting crank off the bellies of strippers and washing it down with bottles of Jack, then, bless you), then you already have some form of automation in your life.Whether it is a garage door opener, an alarm clock, or a glorious pile of remote controls strewn pell-mell across your … [Read more...] about Your home is dumb, but making it smart is cheaper than you think
Get EfficientOne of the biggest, if not the biggest, source of a high energy bill is inefficiency. Inefficient insulation, inefficient appliances, inefficient heating, inefficient lighting — they’re all major sources of your energy expenditure. While the previous two sections covered methods for solving minor inefficiencies, they’re mostly solutions for symptoms of larger problems.The first way to tackle issues with inefficiency is to install a programmable thermostat. This will take the guesswork and tedium out of adjusting the temperature in your home, as you’ll be able to create settings for certain times, ensuring your home stays comfortable when you’re there but also energy efficient when you’re not.Next, replace appliances with Energy Star-certified electronics. This is especially crucial for older appliances, as, unsurprisingly, they are far less efficient than newer models. If possible, opt for High-Efficiency (HE) laundry … [Read more...] about Batten down the hatches: Foolproof ways to save on your power bill
Programmable thermostats for comfort control and cost efficiency are a wonderful concept but they have a weakness — they’re only as efficient as their programmed settings. The smart-home thermostat category leader Nest Thermostat adds “smarts” to programmable thermostats with sensors, Wi-Fi, and smartphone connections, and the ability to learn your preferences. The Nest Thermostat can also sense when no one’s home and adjust the temperature to save utility costs. A new Nest program will potentially save you even more money with little or no sacrifice in comfort.Nest announced a new service called Time of Savings. The program’s basic concept is that you agree to let your electric company communicate with Nest. Nest will then know about and take advantage of peak and off-peak rate fluctuations. As your Nest Thermostat learns your preferences it will do its best to match the settings you prefer with your electric company’s rate changes.Right now … [Read more...] about Nest wants to save you even more money on heating and cooling
What if your appliances could talk?The concept of the smart home has both explored and succeeded in answering this question, but the ideal solution usually comes with either incompatible or pricey devices. But a new offering from Sense Labs, the Sense home energy monitor, provides the ability to bring age-old electronic equipment into a data-driven, trackable ecosystem.The ability to control the devices is not available, but by installing the Sense monitor in your electrical panel and downloading the Sense app, you’ll be able to watch all of your home’s appliances in action and track what is using the most electricity.“The Sense home energy monitor listens to those voices through current sensors on the main breakers in your electric panel,” Sense’s website reads. “It records them millions of times per second. We then apply multi-domain device signature detection algorithms to distinguish one appliance from another — to recognize each individual … [Read more...] about Monitor your home appliances with Sense’s affordable load monitoring system
If you’re a Nest owner, you’ve something to be proud of.On Tuesday, the Alphabet-owned company announced that its signature Learning Thermostat had received an Energy Star from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The recognition comes moments after the EPA dropped a few criteria previously needed to be awarded an Energy Star, allowing connected thermostats to be considered. That means that the Nest is actually the very first thermostat in the country to have such a distinction, with the company noting, “After rigorous testing, the EPA has confirmed what we’ve been saying all along: the Nest Thermostat saves energy.”It’s quite an accomplishment, as seven years ago, the EPA de-recognized all programmable thermostats that previously had Energy Star status. This, Nest said in a blog post announcement, is because “You can only get an Energy Star if the EPA is confident your product is really energy efficient,” which … [Read more...] about If you’re a Nest owner, you’re the owner of an Energy Star device
We might never get to the point of having a Jetsons-like kitchen that prepares our meals for us, but some recent advances in kitchen technology are getting close to that.Programmable ovens and stoves with pre-set recipes and instructions for various dishes, for instance, take much of the guesswork out of making a meal. In this way, Wolf's convection steam oven helps cooks along while they're making dinner."[It] properly adjusts the time and temperature based on the amount and size of the food being prepared, ensuring consistent, delicious results," Michele Bedard, vice president of marketing for Sub-Zero and Wolf, told TechNewsWorld."The Slow Roast program has over 10 specific food categories and adapts the cooking process based on a preselected time, allowing homeowners to tailor meal preparation around their schedules," she added.The company also has a Smart Appliance app and Smart Appliance module for its built-in refrigeration units and E-series wall ovens."The Smart Appliance app … [Read more...] about The Tech-Adept Kitchen: A Home’s Heart – and Brain
The results of a pair of year-long studies that use so-called intelligent appliances show that new power grid management tools in the home -- and even in the appliances themselves -- can help save homeowners money while improving power grid efficiency at the same time.The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) -- part of the Department of Energy -- and its Pacific Northwest GridWise Demonstration Project found that advanced technologies saved the consumers who participated in the study 10 percent on their electricity bills, on average.The project was funded primarily by the DoE but was also supported by utilities, manufacturers and IBM, which provided the software behind the effort. The two separate studies covered parts of Washington state and Oregon, with a goal of testing demand-response concepts as well as the technologies.In the Olympic Peninsula Project, homeowners were willing to adjust their individual energy use based on price signals provided online.In the Grid Friendly … [Read more...] about Studies: Monitoring, Smart Appliances Cut Home Energy Bills