Home control company HAI now touts a suite of devices that can provide energy management in the home independent of utility-based smart grid programs. The systems use the wireless RF-based ZigBee Home Automation protocol.
A small tabletop or wall-mounted ZigBee Interface Module (ZIM) for the company’s Omni and Lumina controllers or a ZigBee MicroControl touchpanel for a standalone systems is required. You can add OmniStat2 RC-2000ZB thermostats or RC-1000ZB t-stats for single-stage conventional and heat pump systems, 30- and 5-amp control modules, and 300-watt plug-in lamp modules to the system. The system can accommodate up to 64 devices and perform current sensing for energy monitoring.
The MicroControl lets you enable and disable devices and create custom schedules. It can enact time-based schedules for temperatures, water heaters, air conditioning units, pumps, fountains, lamps, generators and other devices. It can automatically set back energy loads during work days and have preferences restore an hour before returning home, for example. A snooze button on top can set back every device in Away or Vacation mode.
You can also view the energy use, or current draw, of connected devices.
The MicroControl includes a USB port so that the firmware of the MicroControl and any other ZigBee devices can be updated with a PC. (The ZIM does not have a USB port because the ZIM gets firmware updates from the Omni or Lumina systems.) The MicroControl can also act as a ZIM if a homeowner adds an Omni or Lumina system later.
More features and wireless protocols may be added later to the suite of products. “We’ve designed the entire product suite around a modular radio concept so that in the future we have the flexibility to add support for whatever radio technology the market demands,” says HAI’s Thomas Pickral Jr.
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.