July 02, 2009
| by Steven Castle
What will a green home network of the future look like? The ZigBee Alliance would like it to look like wireless mesh-network of ZigBee products. It’s planning to introduce a ZigBee Green Power feature set that establishes a global standard for self-powered devices.
That means small, networked devices that capture or harvest energy via solar, ambient temperature, or mechanical action (kinetic energy), such as power gained from pushing a switch, says Kevin A. Schader of Global Inventures, a standards development organization that is working with the ZigBee Alliance.
The ZigBee Alliance is making the Green Power feature set available to ZigBee manufacturers by the end of the year. Products such as light dimmers, switches and motion sensors for residential, commercial and industrial use could follow several months later.
“These devices will communicate seamlessly with existing ZigBee and ZigBee PRO networks and will enable maintenance free, environmentally friendly products that eliminate the need for wires and batteries,” the Alliance says.
ZigBee isn’t the only wireless mesh protocol seeking to be the green networking standard. Manufacturers of Z-Wave products have already made inroads in green home technologies with smart thermostats, dimmers and other devices. Chances are, we’ll see at least two competitors for your green wireless networking dollars. Here’s a good article by our own Julie Jacobson on the differences.
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