Popular home control companies Control4 and Crestron were showing complete home energy management solutions, including energy monitoring, at the CEDIA Expo in Atlanta last week.
One large caveat, however: These solutions are still only possible.
Control4 is showing its 5-inch EC 100 countertop display that could be paired with a TED (The Energy Detective) energy monitoring device and possibly bundled with lights, dimmers and a thermostat for lighting and HVAC energy control in a home. The EMS-100 system, of which the EC 100 is a part, is currently being offered to utilities rolling out smart grid programs to their customers.
Control4 is gauging dealer response to rolling out a possible energy management package that does not require a two-way smart meter or participation in a smart grid program. And by the looks of the crowds in the Control4 booth, we may see such a solution.
For its new 2.0 operating system, Control4 has developed the My Energy app that works with the TED 5000 energy monitoring device to help homeowners manage and monitor their energy consumption. The app offers two views: Dashboard and Electricity Use. With Dashboard, customers can see their home’s Price per KwH, Cost per Hour, Current Use and So Far Today, and a graphical view of their consumption today versus yesterday. In the Electricity Use view, consumers can view two-hour real-time data, historical data for the week, month and year, and a comparison of current consumption to previous period, same period last year, and average daily outside temperature.
Control4 also offered a preview of a My Yard Sprinkler app that allows customers to program and set watering schedules directly from the Control4 interface.
In addition, startup Eragy has developed an energy Control4 app that allows users to monitor and manage their home’s energy consumption through any television or 7-inch touch screen on the Control4 system, as well as remotely from the Eragy.com web interface. Users will see their real-time energy usage as well as current costs, projected monthly costs and projected monthly power. Eragy also provides users with the ability to automatically control HVAC systems and other high-power appliances based on their own preferences for power use or based on time of day. Users can take advantage of their local power utility Time of Use and Time of Use Demand rate structures (if offered) to save money and reduce overall energy consumption.
Crestron’s possible energy management solution is called Viridian, an appears as slick interface that can monitor everything on the Crestron network, in addition to measuring temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide levels room by room. Users can make adjustments to lights and other connected devices, and the software can send email alerts. Monitoring of appliances outside the Crestron network still requires a third-party system, or the software can get energy usage data from current transformers (CTs) wired directly from an electrical panel to the Crestron system, says Rushi Kumar, Crestron’s director of engineering for lighting and HVAC.
Viridian appears to be intended primarily for the commercial market, and the software interface could take another six months to be released. The Viridian software can be used atop Crestron’s GreenLight energy management hardware, and Kumar says Crestron intends to provide its own comprehensive energy monitoring next year. The company still has to determine its residential strategy for Viridian.
Follow Electronic House
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