News / Media

Smart Grid in Your Home

Smartenit plug-in device delivers a home’s energy info to ZigBee or Insteon home area networks.



December 20, 2011 by Steven Castle



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http://www.electronichouse.com/article/smart_grid_in_your_home/energymgmt



Say you want to manage the electricity usage in your home to save energy and money. Should you wait for your local utility to roll out “smart grid” programs that might allow you to do that—or do you invest in a potentially expensive energy management/home control system?

Affordable alternatives are becoming available. Smartenit, formerly known as SimpleHomeNet, has introduced a ZBPCM device that can take the energy usage info from an electrical meter and populate it to a wireless ZigBee-based or Insteon home area network. The ZBPCM plugs into an electrical outlet and receives a wireless signal from a Blue Line Innovations’ low-cost PowerCost Monitor sensor, which attaches to the meter to read the energy usage. The ZBPCM then passes that signal on to a ZigBee-based radio frequency (RF) mesh network or Insteon’s dual RF/powerline network.

The companies call getting real time energy information from an electric meter into a home control network “the missing piece of the energy management puzzle.” Other, typically more expensive options include energy monitoring systems that attach to a home’s circuit panel to read total or circuit-based energy usage.

“Having energy consumption information available is only the first part of the equation. A more important aspect is to have that information automatically generate actions for more impact to consumers, their bottom line and the environment,” says Al Choperena, president of Smartenit.

With energy info on their networks, consumers can customize parameters to allow for automated responses that will save energy. Smartenit also manufactures ZigBee plugs and load controllers that report energy usage to provide deeper layers of energy management capability.

This data from the meter or smart plugs is then displayed over dashboards for the customer’s viewing. Armed with all this information, consumers can then set very specific parameters as to when energy adjustments are to be automatically executed, truly smartening their environment. They can track, monitor and control their usage from devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers.



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<strong><a href="http://www.electronichouse.com/article/smart_grid_in_your_home/energymgmt" target="_blank">http://www.electronichouse.com/article/smart_grid_in_your_home/energymgmt</a></strong></p>

Posted by chantal Tue, 07 Feb 2012 17:33:00 GMT

Audio Impact and SDGE team up for Energy Innovation Center

Audio Impact is proud to announce their partnership with SDG&E on an energy efficient smart home. SDG&E recently unveiled their Energy Innovation Center, featuring a Smart Home inside . The Smart Home was designed by Audio Impact and features Control4 Energy Management. The home features a Control4 EC-100 with onscreen TV display of the current energy being used in the home, as well as how much the projected costs are. The Control4 system is operated via and in-wall 7” touchscreen and with iPads, using the Control4 app. Some of the other features include a motorized Mechoshade and Eragy Smart Home monitoring of each individual device’s energy consumption. Tours are giving by SDG&E daily and one can experience all the offerings of today’s affordable and efficient home technology.

For more information visit http://sdge.com/innovationcenter

Posted by chantal Wed, 01 Feb 2012 21:04:00 GMT

SDGE Unveils Energy Innovation Center in San Diego

Audio Impact, Inc. was proud to partner up with SDG&E in the design and installation of the Green Smart Home in their new Energy Innovation Center.



Energy resource center will help customers find the most cost-effective and energy-efficient solutions for their home or business



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http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/18/4197035/sdge-unveils-energy-innovation.html



SAN DIEGO, Jan. 18, 2012 – /PRNewswire/ – Today, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) introduced its new Energy Innovation Center (the Center), a showcase facility where residential and business customers can learn about energy efficiency, alternative fuel transportation, Smart Grid, and clean generation.

The Energy Innovation Center offers an array of seminars on energy efficiency; classes in the food service demonstration kitchen; tours of the Smart Home full of energy-saving technology; information in the resource library, and guided tours of the water-wise walkway which showcases drought tolerant plants that save water and energy.

“The Energy Innovation Center will be a valuable resource for the community,” said Hal D. Snyder, vice president of customer solutions for SDG&E. “We are committed to helping southern California reach a more sustainable energy future and the Center will provide businesses and residential customers with the tools and resources they need to make smart energy decisions to be more energy efficient, save money, and help the environment.”

In December 2010, SDG&E began construction on an existing 27,000-square-foot building and focused on designing and constructing a facility that is designed to meet U.S. Green Building Council’s Platinum LEED certificate, the highest level of certification for energy-efficient buildings. In order to meet the LEED platinum certification, SDG&E was required to incorporate the latest sustainable design elements in the Center’s design. Some of the sustainable elements of the Center include:

85 percent of the original building’s materials were reused or recycled. The roof will have a rain water collection unit that stores water used for the Center’s irrigation system. The state-of-the-art Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning (HVAC) system has sensors that shut off the A/C when the windows are open. The solar panels heat the Center’s water and help offset the building’s energy use by 34 percent. Most of the items seen in the Center are made from recycled materials, including the carpet which is made from recycled tires. The Center showcases different examples of highly efficient lighting, HVAC units and leading technologies to demonstrate the choices available for businesses and design professionals to incorporate into their buildings. Many of the program offerings and design features are the result of a collaborative approach with community-based organizations, local businesses and other key stakeholders and technology sponsors.

Key features that customers can experience at the Center include:

Smart Home experience tours;

Sustainability tours;

Interactive kiosks, displays and resource library;

Solar Trees® in parking areas that provide both shade for your car and power for the region;

Water-wise walkway with drought-tolerant landscape demonstrations;

Produce Demonstration Garden;

Food Service Demonstration Kitchen.

A key component of the Center is the full commercial Food Service Demonstration Kitchen that boosts numerous energy efficient appliances that introduce new features to the food service world that saves energy and saves money for chefs, restaurant owners and facility managers with food service kitchens. At the Energy Innovation Center, chefs will have the opportunity to utilize the demonstration kitchen to test their recipes on energy efficient equipment to ensure that the updated appliances work well with their dishes.


“The San Diego County Chapter of the California Restaurant Association commends San Diego Gas & Electric on the opening of their new Energy Innovation Center,” Chris Duggan, director of local government affairs for the California Restaurant Association. “This state-of-the-art facility will provide our industry professionals the opportunity to experience cutting-edge technologies and utilize educational resources that will increase energy efficiency and environmental leadership.

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<strong><a href="http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/18/4197035/sdge-unveils-energy-innovation.html" target="_blank">http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/18/4197035/sdge-unveils-energy-innovation.html</a></strong></p>

Posted by chantal Mon, 23 Jan 2012 22:32:00 GMT

An iPod Thermostat to Change the World?

Attractive and easy-to-use Nest thermostat is getting some advance buzz.



October 27, 2011 | by Steven Castle



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http://www.electronichouse.com/article/an_ipod_thermostat_to_change_the_world/



Can cool looks and ease of use help us save energy in our homes?

If the web buzz generated this week by the Nest thermostat—which isn’t even available yet—is any indication, the answer is yes.

Nest has a lot going for it. First off, it’s very cool looking, with a pleasing round shape to replace those bulky thermostat boxes, an easy-to-read digital readout and even a little leaf symbol that appears when you’re being good about your energy use.

But perhaps the biggest things Nest has going for it is its Apple pedigree and ease of use. Nest Labs cofounder and CEO Tony Fadell is an ex-Apple executive dedicated to making a thermostat that’s simple to use and program.

Like an iPod, Nest basically has one button, or ring. You rotate the outer ring to adjust the temperature. The display turns blue when cooling and red when heating. Push down to open the menu.

Many people have programmable thermostats that allow programming temperature set points at various times of the day, but few actually program them. Nest says its thermostat can learn your heating and cooling patterns and suggest ways for you to be more energy-efficient. Oh, and if you want, it can be manually programmed for seven days with 20 set points per day.

Nest says the thermostat learns your personal schedule in a week and starts automatically turning down heating or cooling when you’re away to save energy.

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<strong><a href="http://www.electronichouse.com/article/an_ipod_thermostat_to_change_the_world/" target="_blank">http://www.electronichouse.com/article/an_ipod_thermostat_to_change_the_world/</a></strong></p>

Posted by chantal Fri, 18 Nov 2011 17:21:00 GMT

Make a home smarter with automation systems

October 07, 2011



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http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-10-07/classified/ct-home-1007-home-automation-20111007_1_programmable-thermostats-automation-major-energy-user



Who wouldn’t like an extra set of hands around the house? Or some help with basic, everyday activities such as keeping your home comfortable? And if that extra help could also make your home more energy efficient, reducing your utility bills, wouldn’t that be an added bonus?

Home automation, once considered a luxury, is doing those tasks for more homeowners than ever before, and in ways that may surprise you. Many homeowners recognize the importance of saving energy, something that benefits the environment and their budgets. Three key areas of home automation that influence energy savings are window coverings, thermostats and lighting.

Heating and cooling accounts for the largest portion of a house’s overall energy use. Artificial lighting also contributes to home energy bills. Automating these areas of the home that consume the most energy allows users to improve energy efficiency.

Window coverings

You may think of your window treatments as more of a design statement, but window coverings, from blinds to shades, can help control the flow of sunlight into your home. In summer, drawing the blinds can help keep the interior of your home cooler. Opening window coverings when it’s cold outside in the winter can allow more warming sunlight to enter your home.

By automating your window coverings, you can better control the amount of light, and heat, entering your home, even when you’re not there. You can program an automation system to close window coverings after everyone has left the house for the day to help keep things cooler in the summer.

Or, in the winter, when many of us leave the house before the sun is up, an automation system can open window coverings to allow sunlight and warmth into the home after the sun rises.

Thermostats

Turning your thermostat back between 10 to 15 percent for eight hours a day can save you as much as 10 percent on your heating and cooling bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s website, energysavers.gov. Programmable thermostats allow you to automate temperature changes in your home.

In summer months, you can set the thermostat to allow the temperature in your home to rise higher so the air conditioning runs less when no one is there. The same technique can help reduce heating bills in the winter. By setting a programmable thermostat to change temperatures when needed, you can achieve more precise control over the temperature in your home without the risk of forgetting to set the thermostat back every time you leave the house.

Lighting

Artificial light is another major energy user in households. Reducing electricity usage can be as simple as turning off lights you leave a room.

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<strong><a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-10-07/classified/ct-home-1007-home-automation-20111007_1_programmable-thermostats-automation-major-energy-user" target="_blank">http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-10-07/classified/ct-home-1007-home-automation-20111007_1_programmable-thermostats-automation-major-energy-user</a></strong></p>

Posted by chantal Wed, 09 Nov 2011 17:16:00 GMT

A Look Ahead at New Homes of 2015

By Erika Riggs, Zillow October 11, 2011



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http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/a-look-ahead-at-new-homes-of-2015.html



If you had asked someone in the 1960s what the home of 2015 would look like, chances are they imagined something akin to The Jetsons’ home complete with Rosie the Robot and other space-age appliances that dressed and fed the family.

But, rather than space-age technology, the biggest thing that is expected to change in future single-family homes is the size.

“Homes will get smaller,” says Stephen Melman, Director of Economic Services at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in Washington D.C. “We asked builders, ‘what do you anticipate the new home size would be by 2015?’ ”

According to the results of the study, surveyed home builders expect new single-family homes to check in at an average of 2,150 square feet. Current single family homes measure around 2,400 square feet, which is already a decrease from the peak home size in 2007 of 2,521.

While the decrease in home size has a lot to do with the recession, many believe that the real estate changes will stick around even after the economy and home values get back on solid ground.

“Although affordability is driving these decisions, smaller homes are a positive for builders,” said Melman. “It allows for more creative design, more amenities, better flow. It’s an opportunity to deliver a better home.”

Other things that make up the home of 2015? No more living room. According to the survey, 52 percent of builders expect the living room to merge with other spaces and 30 percent believe that it will vanish completely to save on square footage. Instead, expect to see great rooms — a space that combines the family and living room and flows into the kitchen.

Expect to see more:
- spacious laundry rooms
- master suite walk-in closets
- porches
- eat-in kitchens
- two-car garages
- ceiling fans


Expect to see less:
- mudrooms
- formal dining rooms
- four bedrooms or more
- media or hobby rooms
- skylights

Many of these changes reflect a desire for builders and consumers going green. Smaller space means more efficient heating and cooling. Ceiling fans distribute heat evenly while skylights, on the other hand, release heat.

However, as builders look to go green, they’ll be installing energy-efficient windows and compact fluorescent and LED lighting, as well as water-efficient appliances and plumbing.

Additionally, many new homes will have the baby boomer population in mind with walk-in showers, ground-floor master bedrooms and grab bars.

“A bigger share of the new homes will be purchased by people 55 or 65 and older,” said Melman. “They’re more likely to have more cash for a down payment, but they’re empty nesters, so they don’t need five bedrooms.”



Home digital control panels can help manage security and energy consumption.

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<strong><a href="http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/a-look-ahead-at-new-homes-of-2015.html" target="_blank">http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/a-look-ahead-at-new-homes-of-2015.html</a></strong></p>

Posted by chantal Fri, 04 Nov 2011 16:36:00 GMT

Home theatre apps take over entertainment

Move over movie critics, remote controls and TV listings



BY LEE RICKWOOD, WHATSYOURTECH.CA OCTOBER 4, 2011



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http://www.calgaryherald.com/entertainment/Home+theatre+apps+take+over+entertainment/5497901/story.html

New apps for smartphones and tablets are normally used on the go, but there are several that make sitting in your home theatre more enjoyable.

No, the apps can’t set up your system - but one can help you better understand the words used to describe home theatre technology.

It’s called Home Theater Glossary, was developed by Deep Powder Software, and is available from the App Store or the Android market.

It gives definitions for some basic words and common terms. They can be searched, or looked up alphabetically, offering simple results for even the most complex terminology.

If a word you need to know is not listed, well, there’s a direct feedback feature so you can bring the developers up to speed!

“Clicker” apps

A number of apps are available that turn your mobile device into a fully functional remote control.

RedEye, for example, controls almost any equipment that receives infrared control signals - TVs, cable boxes, stereos, DVD players, VCRs and more.

The iOS or Android app is free. A small hardware device actually generates the infrared signals; it’s available online and at some retailers (here in Calgary, Memory Express is one).

Beacon, from Griffin Technology, (www.griffintechnology.com/) also turns a smartphone into a remote control.

Another software and hardware combo, it uses Bluetooth signals from your device and converts them to the infrared that most TV and stereo components expect.

You can change channels on a set-top box, pump up the volume on your sound system, program your DVR, and more through your touch screen display.

Logitech is releasing a similar product, a wireless device that connects to your iPad, iPhone, or Android smartphone and turns it into a universal remote.

But its new Harmony product line actually adds more features to the iPad version (over the smartphone apps).

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<strong><a href="http://www.calgaryherald.com/entertainment/Home+theatre+apps+take+over+entertainment/5497901/story.html" target="_blank">http://www.calgaryherald.com/entertainment/Home+theatre+apps+take+over+entertainment/5497901/story.html</a></strong></p>

Posted by chantal Thu, 20 Oct 2011 16:23:00 GMT

The 2012 New American Home

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http://www.buildershow.com/Home/Page.aspx?genericContentID=155441



Now under construction near Orlando, Florida, The New American Home (TNAH) 2012 is a re-interpretation of the Classic White Box of the 1960s and ’70s made popular by leading architects such as Le Corbusier and Richard Meier.

Phil Kean of Winter Park, Florida, the architect and builder of the 2012 home, seeks to honor the architecture of the past while taking advantage of current technologies and design trends. Kean is focusing on functional and transitional spaces and attention to detail instead of square footage and the design uses space efficiently to create a calm and serene living environment.

The latest green building products and methods are factored into every aspect of the home’s design. Kean hopes the home will achieve “emerald” status under the green building certification process administered by the NAHB Research Center and based on principles set forth in the ICC 700-2008 National Green Building Standard™ certified by ANSI - “Emerald” is the highest of the four levels of achievement a home can attain.

TNAH 2012 Certifications to be achieved:

- National Green Building Standard “Emerald Status”

- US DOE’s Energy Star

- FGBC (Florida Green Building Coalition) Platinum certification

- Florida Yards and Neighborhoods designation

- Florida Water Star designation Progress

- Energy Home Advantage Program

- US DOE’s Builders Challenge

- USGBC



Now in its 29th year, The New American Home (TNAH) is constructed annually in conjunction with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders’ Show to showcase innovative construction technologies and the latest building products. NAHB will hold the 2012 International Builders’ Show in Orlando, February 8-11.

NAHB and Hanley Wood’s Builder magazine co-sponsor the show home.

As NAHB’s official show home, TNAH gives building industry professionals an opportunity to see design trends, construction techniques, and materials that can be used in any new or remodeled home. The showcase products in the home are provided by members of the NAHB Leading Suppliers Council.

Kean has designed The New American Home 2012 to take maximum advantage of Florida’s friendly climate. Walls of movable glass panels and motorized screens provide a seamless flow from the indoor to the outdoor spaces.

At 4,181 square feet, the home will be the smallest in The New American Home series in many years. It will be displayed as a two-bedroom floor plan that will appeal to empty nesters, and will have four additional rooms that could be converted to bedrooms if needed.

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<strong><a href="http://www.buildershow.com/Home/Page.aspx?genericContentID=155441" target="_blank">http://www.buildershow.com/Home/Page.aspx?genericContentID=155441</a></strong></p>

Posted by chantal Mon, 17 Oct 2011 16:14:00 GMT

Draper Takes Exterior FlexShades Outside

Designed to block sunlight and heat, this option offers numerous control options.



September 29, 2011 by Rachel Cericola



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http://www.electronichouse.com/article/draper_takes_exterior_flexshades_outside/



Sometimes you can’t escape the sun—even in your own home. For those with a lot of windows, Draper has announced Exterior FlexShades.

As part of the company’s growing line of solar control products, these motorized shades can keep out sunlight and heat. However, having these shades cover the outside doesn’t just make for a more comfortable temperature. It saves you money on heating and cooling costs, and can protect furniture and floors from fading.

According to Draper, the best place and time to stop that heat and glare is outside, which is why Draper’s Exterior FlexShades are installed outdoors. Don’t expect to have to get out a ladder when it’s time to draw these shades, though. Instead, plenty of control options are available, including the option to integrate into an existing home control system. It’s also available with crank or clutch operation.

Because it’s located outside, this system is very quiet. However, it’s also protected from the elements via heavy-duty cable guides or side channels and an aluminum headbox that’s both weather- and insect-resistant.

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<strong><a href="http://www.electronichouse.com/article/draper_takes_exterior_flexshades_outside/" target="_blank">http://www.electronichouse.com/article/draper_takes_exterior_flexshades_outside/</a></strong></p>

Posted by chantal Thu, 06 Oct 2011 16:12:00 GMT

Featured Product: Sivoia QS Wireless Cellular Shades by Lutron

Lutron shading solutions offer quiet, precision control of window treatments for convenient daylight management while saving energy and enhancing décor.

Sivoia QS Wireless cellular shades are the first wire-free, battery-powered shading solution on the market. These shades use Triathlon™ power technology, which utilizes a hybrid drive and ultra-efficient standby power to extend the shades’ battery life to 3 years.

Additional features include: • simple, snap-in installation for easy retrofit in existing homes • pleated fabric style with air pockets trap heat, enhancing energy efficiency • available in 3 styles and close to 50 colors • compatible with Sivoia® QS wireless, GRAFIK Eye® QS, RadioRA® 2, and HomeWorks® QS systems

Posted by chantal Mon, 03 Oct 2011 16:18:00 GMT