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green | Home Automation DIY

Earth Day is around the corner

Posted in Industry News by Ruslan Ulanov on the April 21st, 2011

Earth Day is a day that is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment. /Wikipedia/

Now, isn’t it nice to receive an e-mail like that on the eve of the Earth’s Day! It sure feels good, and it’s also good for your wallet. So do your part, participate in your utility’s Eco programs, reduce, reuse and recycle whenever possible. Check EarthDay.org for local events and to make a pledge. And of course, don’t forget to install occupancy sensing and dimmers in your home automation systems.

Smarthome reveals INSTEON Energy Display

Posted in Hardware,Home Automation by Ruslan Ulanov on the March 30th, 2011

Not so long ago Smarthome had released iMeter Solo power meter – device that captures current energy consumption by one particular device (or a power strip, if you’d rather measure a few devices at once, like TV, DVD player and the like).

But until now there wasn’t an easy way to visualize that data. INSTEON Energy Display changes that with a simple, low cost, RF device you can put on your kitchen counter.

Insteon Energy Display

INSTEON Energy Display (Item# 2448A2) can display energy information from up to three iMeter Solo’s (current watts used as well as cost and energy consumption per month for each device).

Since Energy Display is an RF device running on batteries (2 AAA batteries included) it will require at least one Access Point or dual-band INSTEON device to receive the data sent by iMeter Solo’s on the power line.

The Energy Display also includes a built-in thermometer for displaying the local room temperature.

The device is expected to be in stock on 8/31/2011 and will sell for $39.99

Source: Smarthome via CocoonTech

People Power brings Skynet one step closer

Posted in Hardware,Industry News by Ruslan Ulanov on the May 14th, 2010
SuRF boards

SuRF boards

People Power, a green-tech start-up based in the heart of the Silicon Valley, recently introduced a kit it calls SuRF, for Sensor Ultra-Radio Frequency. SuRF helps connect household appliances and gadgets to a wireless network in your house.

“What that means is that you could monitor your microwave, Playstation and coffee machine in real time, check their levels of energy consumption, and make apps to control how they behave. Ultimately, that could lead to substantial savings of energy and money” writes Wired.

Or it could lead to a self-aware network of gadgets that will try to take you (the owner) out of equation, a la Skynet. Just kidding!

Seriously, this is a promising new technology that would need some serious backing from the device and appliance manufacturers to really take off. And when it does it might make our lives better, saving us some energy and money in the process. Sounds good to me!

On a technical note… (continue reading this article and leave comments here…)

Onzo unveils appearance of unique energy management tool

Posted in Hardware,Industry News by Ruslan Ulanov on the December 21st, 2009
Onzo display and sensor

Onzo display and sensor

Onzo, the global designer of domestic energy management systems, today reveals the images of the hardware components of its smart energy kit; the display and sensor. These will provide consumers with an unprecedentedly wide range of compelling information to help them understand and manage their energy use. The sensor measures and stores data on household energy use, and securely transmits this wirelessly to the in-home display.

Commenting on the release of the images, Joel Hagan, Chief Executive of Onzo said: “We are delighted we can now share the appearance of our first products. Their combination of usefulness, ease of installation and attractive design make them unique. They will have a lasting place in the home and for the first time will really put people in charge of their energy use”.

The Onzo display breaks new ground by being designed from the outset with the needs of the user in mind. Every interaction is designed to be easy, engaging and useful. Its innovative features include:
• Versatile positioning, with a reversible back that will enable it to be free-standing, attached to a refrigerator or hung from a wall;
• A clear, simple display showing the most useful, actionable information;
• Intelligent EnergyTools with eye-catching symbols;
• A soft rubber surround to make the device tactile and increase its sturdiness;
• Easily rechargeable batteries. (continue reading this article and leave comments here…)

How to Get More from Your Home’s Lights

Posted in DIY Projects,Home Automation by Ruslan Ulanov on the June 23rd, 2009

Lights are a staple in every home, but that doesn’t mean your switches should be like everyone else’s. With a few simple tweaks, the fixtures can do more simply illuminate your home as a bit of lighting control. They can curb your energy use, evoke ambiance, and protect your home, for example. Here are 10 simple ways to realize your lights’ full potential.

Read the rest of the article by Lisa Montgomery on Electronic House magazine’s web site.