Posts Tagged ‘energy control’

SilverStat 7 thermostat does everything but cook your breakfast

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

silverstat 7

Well isn’t this the prettiest thermostat you’ve ever seen? It’s the SilverStat 7 from SilverPAC, the same folks who created that elaborate Evolution 5500 remote control we showed you a few weeks ago. This is the smartest thermostat yet, communicating with utility companies, eliminating that pesky meter reading chore they must do every month. It keeps tabs on your energy usage, and similar to that TED 5000 system we reviewed last month, it helpfully displays to you in pretty graphics exactly how much power you’ve been sucking lately.

This is not just for the benefit of the energy mongers and treehuggers. Its Wi-Fi interface and 7-inch display makes it a highly capable network player, showing streaming photos, music and content from your PC or the Internet. It has built-in speakers, Z-Wave home automation so you can manage your lighting and appliances, FM radio, and heck, you can even check your email on the thing.

Look at the gallery full of screenshots of all the various functions this spectacular thermostat can perform. Oh yeah, one more thing: It’s a seven-day programmable thermostat that controls your heating and air conditioning. The wizards at SilverPAC aren’t talking price yet.

Source: SilverPAC, via Gizmodo

High-Tech Shocks Turn Bumps Into Power

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

regenerative_shock_02.jpg

Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a shock absorber that harnesses energy as it smooths your ride, and they say it can improve fuel efficiency by as much as 10 percent.

The regenerative shock absorber uses the oscillations of a vehicle’s suspension to generate electricity. Its inventors claim a heavy-duty truck using six of their GenShock shock absorbers can produce enough power to displace the alternator, thereby increasing engine efficiency and fuel economy. The students have attracted the attention of AM General, the company behind the military Humvee, and believe future iterations of GenShock could improve the fuel economy of passenger cars and extend the range of electric vehicles.

“I want this to be a standard feature on heavy vehicles and eventually hybrid consumer vehicles and electric vehicles,” Shakeel Avadhany, who led the GenShock team, told Wired.com.

The power-producing shock is the latest example of the push to recapture energy from automobiles that is otherwise wasted. Turbochargers are the most obvious — and oldest — example, but more recent developments include the regenerative braking systems used in hybrids and electric cars. The quest to increase efficiency also has automakers increasingly replacing mechanical components like air conditioning and power-steering pumps with electric ones to ease the load on the engine and save fuel. These technologies will grow more common as automakers strive to increase fuel efficiency and extend battery range.

“You main losses are friction, braking and heat,” says Spencer Quong, senior vehicles analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Anything you can do to regain energy there will improve efficiency.”

Avadhany, a senior studying materials engineering, started toying with the idea of a wasted energy in August 2007. He and classmate Paul Abel set out to identify where energy leaks from vehicles and figure out how to reclaim it.

It wasn’t long before they focused on shock absorbers, which expand and compress countless times over their lifetimes. The kinetic energy is lost as heat. They figured there had to be some way of capturing that energy, which their tests show can be “a significant amount” — especially in heavy-duty vehicles.

“The amount of energy available in the suspension is on par with the energy coming out of the alternator,” Avadhany said. “It’s 6 to 10 kilowatts for a heavy truck and 3 to 4 kilowatts for a passenger car.”

The students developed a shock absorber that forces hydraulic fluid through a turbine attached to a generator. It is controlled by an active electronic system that optimizes damping to provide a smoother ride while generating electricity to recharge the battery or operate electrical equipment. Should the electronics fail for any reason, GenShock works just like a regular shock absorber.

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Z-Wave Announces Advanced Energy Control Framework

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

z-waveThe Z-Wave Home Control standard expands its reach with the announcement of the Advanced Energy Control Framework (AEC), a specification for advanced energy management technologies that empower homeowners to make informed decisions for energy consumption and monitor home devices. Z-Wave’s AEC will integrate smart metering, consumer notification, automated load shedding and home controls to enable real-time energy management and to help reduce energy demand, lower utility costs and provide active control over home energy consuming devices. Zensys presents the AEC at the Metering Europe event in Amsterdam (Booth J15) between the 22nd and 24th of September, 2008.

“The Z-Wave Advanced Energy Control Framework is a breakthrough in home energy management that will allow homeowners to actively monitor utility costs and demand response in order to save energy and money while reducing their carbon footprint,” says Mark Walters, chairman of the Z-Wave Alliance. “Some utilities are looking to use smart meters to dynamically adjust billing rates based on energy consumption. With AEC we can notify the homeowner of these changes so they can make informed decisions on how they want to consume energy. With Z-Wave and AEC the power to conserve is in the hands of homeowners, not the utilities.”

Transparency and management reduce energy costs
Most consumers receive only one electricity meter reading per month, providing little insight into their daily energy consumption and habits. With Z-Wave’s AEC, consumers can view their energy consumption anytime and anywhere in order to determine when they are using the most energy, and then can work to reduce overuse. Homeowners can also respond to utility billing structures, such as time-of-use pricing and tariff schedules, to minimize energy usage at peak times.

“With its undisputed strength in interoperability and its range of available products, Z-Wave does not only provide for the simple communication from an electricity meter to a gateway and a wireless display in the home,” says Roar Seeger, CEO of Modstroem, a Danish utility company. “It also enables the control of devices in the home that actually consume the power. Especially this second aspect is essential for Modstroem’s advanced service and key to actually achieving energy reduction without compromising comfort for the consumer.”

Z-Wave’s large selection of interoperable home energy control devices enables AEC solutions for a range of consumer scenarios, from simple energy monitoring with smart meters and home displays, to fully integrated device networks including thermostats, home control panels, gateways, sensors, controlled lighting, window coverings and other electrical devices. All the data is collected through an easy-to-understand central Z-Wave control interface that provides homeowners with the information they need to best manage their energy consumption.

Metering Europe: movement in the utility market
This year, the tenth anniversary of the Metering, Billing/CRM Europe takes place in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Since the European member states have opened their electricity and gas markets to competition, the demand for solutions which enable an efficient use of energy and lower the costs increases rapidly. So the investments in smart metering technologies are on the rise. Against this background Zensys will present its Advanced Energy Control Framework in Amsterdam and explain the benefits of the new solution with regard to energy efficiency and the management of consumption.

Source: Sensor News