July 09, 2010
| by Steven Castle
You may have heard that Intel has developed a home energy management system (HEMS), and a Home Dashboard energy monitor. And a Smart TV technology. And sensors that can be placed in the house to measure line voltage and detect problems.
And if Intel has its way, it will all be used together—or at least as a system for its embedded processing chips.
Although you may never see an Intel-branded energy management system—Intel’s technology will likely be sold under other brands using its processors—the company said it designed the system with consumers in mind.
The “Home Dashboard” itself is a friendly looking, on-wall panel sporting a clock. Users can access their home’s energy use information and perform other functions, such as video messaging with a built-in camera. The dashboard can also be set to enter a low-power “sleep” mode.
“We didn’t want to design an energy-saving device that wasn’t energy-efficient,” says Ryan Parker, director of marketing for Intel’s embedded and communications group.
In addition, Intel has developed sensors that plug into outlets at each end of the house to measure line voltage and detect appliances and other heavy energy users by their electrical signatures—then infer if there is a problem.
According to Parker, Intel’s sensors are unique and look for fluctuations in the line voltage. Temperature and humidity sensors, too, could detect if it’s the dryer doing something, and that, says Parker, makes the energy data a user is receiving richer, better and more relevant.
“To do that, a home needs to have a couple of elements: sensing, and provide recommendations. and analytics—or how to translate that data into something people understand. And after you do there needs to be some kind of control,” Parker adds.
As for Intel’s Smart TV technology? That could perhaps display energy information as you sit back on the sofa.
Intel’s HEMS will use ZigBee’s Smart Energy Profile 2.0 IP-based protocol and will send signals over ZigBee, WiFi and Powerline.
Mary Murphy-Hoye, the senior principal Engineer of Intel’s embedded computing group, recently installed sensors throughout her home, built a home-energy monitoring system, and demoed the data and interface to monitor temperature, humidity, light and energy sensors.
“She found out how energy inefficient her dryer was, and she could see how long her son plays Xbox. With temperature sensors in every room, she could tell that her son’s room ran 8 degrees hotter with his computers and everything else running, and as a result he was cooling the house too much,” says Parker. “There’s a lot of interesting little things that people find out from monitoring their energy.”
Intel will seek to sell its HEMS through utilities initiating smart grid trials or services, and to service providers such as ADT, Comcast and Verizon that plan to sell low-cost energy monitoring services to their customers.
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