Energy savings can only occur when you receive quality information about your consumption AND you are provided with practical, everyday applications and gear to do something about your usage. The first step is to implement an Energy Monitoring System. (FIG. 1-5) Energy happens to be one of the only things we buy that we don’t know the cost of until after we use it — and have no idea what we used it for. There are several monitoring systems on the market these days. Since you can’t manage what you don’t measure, we lean towards the systems that gather data at the circuit level rather than overall consumption. These systems let you know the cost to operate detailed areas inside your home over time.
For few of us, the information provided by these systems is enough to help curb consumption—knowing you just spent $85 over the last 30 days on your basement lighting makes you think twice when you reach the top of the steps, and you remember to shut off the lights. (FIG. 6) But for most of us, we need a little more help. So in addition to the Monitoring System, we provide networked devices and applications to help you control your various systems or just flat-out automate them for you.
The second step is having a simple and convenient way to control lighting, shades and climate settings. We do this using Smartphones, Website Applications, TV screens & Tablets. The ability to control from outside the home is also crucial. Automating these systems with sensors will maximize your use of daylight or turn your lights off when a room is not in use or even regulate indoor air quality to feel more comfortable while reducing the demands on your HVAC system. Lighting accounts for 20% of all electricity consumed in the U.S., and 50% of that is wasted with inefficient light sources or in unoccupied rooms. Additional savings can be realized by controlling the amount of wattage used by light bulbs. Furthermore, installing dimming devices conserves electricity and also extends the life of your light bulbs.
The Monitoring System will also point out ‘vampire’ power wasters — the devices that suck down power even when they are perceived to be turned off. Using cloud-based power controllers we can schedule conservation periods at the device level that will cut the power entirely and eliminate waste altogether.
In addition to lowering your electric bills, implementing an Energy Management System can also extend the life of your appliances. Continuous diagnostics helps avoid thousands of dollars in wasted energy and costly repairs by providing notice of hidden problems. Energy Management can help keep your family safe. Automated email and text alerts can notify you when appliances are left on, if circuits are nearing capacity, or if critical home equipment goes off.
Lastly, an integrated energy monitoring and management system that gives you clear feedback and automated control over various loads in the home qualifies for 2 LEED points.