Green technologies are making splash at the Electronic House Expo in Long Beach, CA, where several cool energy-efficient electronics products and technologies are being showcased.
Wireless networking technology Z-Wave is showing how its mesh technology can be used in a variety of products from companies such as HAI, Leviton, and motorized window treatment company Techniku so homeowners can control their thermostats and operate those devices to help control temperature in the home and save energy.
P3 International, maker of the Kill A Watt device that can read energy use of a product plugged into it, is showing a new multi-outlet Kill A Watt PS surge suppressor ($100) with a readout of the total power the devices are drawing.
Don’t want to buy a new surge suppressor? TrickleStar, a Malaysian company, is showing plug in devices that add a smart component to surge suppression strips, for both computer and audio/video components. For the PC Standby Power Saver ($25), users plug the surge strip in one outlet and a USB jack into a computer, and it will shut off all peripherals when the computer is off. It will also turn on the peripherals when the computer turns on. The Universal Standby Power Saver ($40) for audio/video systems consists of one outlet for a master controller like a TV, which will turn on all other components plugged into a surge strip. The products are due in December and January.
Total Protection Solutions, whose whole-house surge suppression system the company says is sustainable by protecting electronics products from the harmful effects of power surges (and therefore keeping them out of landfills or the recycling stream) may move into the energy monitoring arena.
Speaking of energy monitoring, one of the major companies to watch in installed systems is Agilewaves, whose resource monitoring system reports on electricity, water and gas usage. Collin Breakstone, vice president of Agilewaves, says the future of energy efficiency is in shedding energy loads and turning products off completely—instead of leaving them in standbymode. “Between 11 and 13 percent of electricity use in a house in the United States is electronics. And that’s huge. Utilities are implementing demand response and load shedding, and [homeowners] are going to be asking for it. Everything is going IP-based. IP addressable appliances are here, and I know guys who are running [high-speed Category 5 cabling] to every outlet in the kitchen,” to control those products in the future.
“Energy conservation is a hot topic with people,” said Kevin Davidson of lighting control company LiteTouch, during an educational session on green lighting solutions. “People really do want to save energy. We’re turning into green consumers.”
And more products are on the way. Eaton Corp is talking about taking its energy efficient intelligent switching used in backup power generators to shed energy loads like air conditioning, and using it in a home’s electric system to shed loads like that of hot water pumps at certain times.
More to come. Much more, it seems.
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates