May 07, 2012
| by Steven Castle
There’s almost no excuse for not getting some sort of energy monitoring or management system with a home control system—if you have the chance.
Energy management software company Eragy aims to serve whatever interest level homeowners have in seeing their energy use and saving money. The company is introducing a suite of apps that work with Control4’s IP-based home control systems, from a free Watt’s On app to a $399 Pro version that allows you to automate actions depending on your energy usage and costs. There’s even an add-on energy game app.
“We’re providing a full family of apps from basic energy management to intelligent control of your house,” says Mark Komanecky, vice president of marketing for Eragy.
Free Watt’s On App
The free Watt’s On app will allow Control4 users to see what’s on—get it?—in their Control4 system’s lighting, media an climate systems—and nothing more. Consider this a bare-bones starter kit, of sorts, intended to make energy management more digestible for homeowners and to help them visualize their energy use and see what’s possible in home energy management.
Eragy Energy Lite
The $49 Lite app adds whole-house energy monitoring with the addition of a power sensor from eGauge, TED (The Energy Detective) 5000 series, or BlueLine Innovations’ PowerCost Monitor. Users can see the power consumption of their homes in real time, so they can start to understand how to they can save, says Komanecky. There are no histories (energy use by hour/day/month/year) or cloud services with a web portal. It’s Watt’s On with real-time energy monitoring and no subscription.
Eragy Energy Plus
Eragy’s Plus app is $199, plus a $96 per year subscription, but this is where you get circuit-level monitoring, a web portal, histories, cost estimates, graphs and charts of energy usages and costs using Eragy’s cloud-based analytics, and solar and wind system production, if applicable. “This is for people who want to really understand their energy consumption,” says Komanecky.
A total of 48 circuits with the use of four eGauge monitors is possible, and alerts can be sent when you’re about to exceed your monthly energy budget, are using too much energy on a particular circuit or when you may be moving into a pricier rate tier, based on your energy use, with your local utility.
The app also supports Control4 puck lighting and connected Jetlun appliance modules.
Dealers and others can also access a dealer portal to configure alerts, troubleshoot systems, and generate usage reports for homeowners. The dealer portal can also be used by solar installers, homebuilders and light commercial owners of multiple restaurants, for example.
Eragy Energy Pro
If you want some energy automation, the $399 Pro app (plus $96 a year subscription), is for you. This gets all the features in the Plus app, including circuit-level energy monitoring, plus Eragy’s Intelligent Demand Side Management (iDSM) and rules that can be set so energy usage levels of lights, appliances and other systems can be adjusted, depending on your energy use.
Rules can be set up on the dealer portal to configure events based on standard or tiered rates, in which some utility customers pay significantly more for electricity once they’ve reached a certain threshold each month. Tiered rate jumps can be drastic and costly, so it makes sense then to automatically dim some lights, maybe not turn on landscape lighting at night, or shut off devices or systems in the home.
“This is for people who want to save the most energy,” Komanecky says, “and it’s something I think our dealers who are focused in energy management will be embracing.”
A whole-house energy sensor—eGuage preferred ($600 to $900)—is required to work with the Eragy Energy Pro app.
Eragy Energy Game
Eragy’s Game app gives people a way to engage in energy, by competing against themselves to be more energy efficient that the same day last week. The game app resets itself every hour, so you can pretty much play at will. Komanecky says competing against others may be added in future.
Eragy does not yet have dedicated iPhone, Android and tablet apps, but you can access the web portal from these devices. The web portal does not allow devices to be turned on or off, however, so you’d use a smartphone pretty much just to check on your system.
The Eragy apps are available from Control4’s 4Store app store.
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