The turn of the century may have had many people wondering where the futuristic cars and homes were, with ultra modern styling and technology so robust that they could run themselves. Maybe we didn't quite get it by the new millennium, but the past decade, even the past several years have seen enormous strides in hardware and software innovations that have made, and will continue to make the "connected home" a reality.
The future of the connected home lies in the standardization of all home technologies, so that they can communicate on the home network, via a single interface or gateway. The evolution of ZigBee, Z-Wave, and WiFi wireless technologies are now streamlining the industry to allow greater compatibility between in-home devices. What the consumer can expect is for the next generation of appliances, televisions, lights, door locks -- virtually all electronic devices -- is to be able to seamlessly access and control these devices from just about anywhere.
The most promising trend in the short term however is the emergence of connected home offerings from major Broadband/Cable service providers. Many of the large Cable and Internet providers in North America (Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T, Rogers, Comcast, to name a few) have already begun offering their own connected home services. Most of the offerings are centered on home security, but also have options for energy management and other connected home services.
It may still be a few years before we see this trend become mainstay for the industry, but with so many of the major Broadband and Cable companies already testing the waters, its hard to imagine that we won't see the emergence of connected home offerings in most major US and Canadian markets in the next couple of years, with a full range of functionality and control over your home.
As the economy continues to change, for better or worse, companies are constantly looking to improve their bottom line, while ever having in mind the comfort of their customers and the quality of their products. With energy costs steadily rising, businesses are looking more and more towards finding new ways to cut wasteful utility consumption. Profit margins in the restaurant industry are often very slim, so even small reductions in consumption can translate into big savings over the long term.
According to the US department of energy, the restaurant industry is one of the most energy intensive sectors of the economy, using an average of three times as much energy as other commercial buildings. Full service restaurants in the US use an average of 29 kWh of electricity per square foot annually, while quick service restaurants use a staggering 81 kWh per square foot annually. To gain a better perspective, a major restaurant group that operates several hundred full service restaurants in the US consumed an average of 720,202 kWh, 710,725 kWh, and 714,907 kWh per restaurant annually in the years 2006, 2007, and 2008 respectively. Assuming an average of $.10/kWh, this amounts to average electricity spending of roughly $70,000 per year. With a small reduction of even 5% of energy consumption, annual savings could amount to $3,500 for a single full service restaurant. In an industry with slim profit margins, often times as little as 5% to 10%, it becomes quite clear that there is significant potential to increase the bottom line by cutting energy costs.
So the question remains, how can restaurants cut costs, without sacrificing guest comfort? At a basic level, many restaurants are going green by altering behavior and increasing awareness among staff about the importance of turning off lights and other appliances when not in use. But beyond basic behavioral changes, current technology now allows us to truly take control of the restaurant with smart energy monitoring. Many commercial buildings are using a combination of energy monitoring hardware and software to control consumption, and set automatic alerts and shutoff points. Also available are different kinds of occupancy sensors, motion sensors, and HVAC sensors, for example those available from Control4, that all come together to make a building almost think for itself. The possibilities extend beyond the restaurant, as this same concept can be applied to other small businesses in the hospitality industry or elsewhere. For more information on how Eragy can tailor a specific solution to meet your restaurant's or other small business's needs, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many folks have read that Microsoft is retiring the Hohm energy service
Eragy offers Hohm users with an exciting alternative, myEragy!
myEragy is a free tool that allows homeowners to view their home's energy usage and cost from anywhere online.
myEragy includes a database of actual utility rates and provides real-time energy alerts. We can also monitor electricity generated by solar, wind, or other renewable energy sources. And it even works on an iPad!
Unlike other alternatives to Microsoft Hohm, Eragy also offers a professional version of our platform, myEragy PRO
, that is suitable for use by utilities and other energy professionals. myEragy PRO includes a variety of provisioning, management, and reporting tools that enable utilities and other service providers to successfully deploy consumer and light commercial energy management services.
myEragy supports the Blue Line Innovations PowerCost Monitor
, TED 5000 and eGauge power sensors today, with support for other power sensors and smart meters coming in the near future.
to learn more, or go to myeragy.com
to sign up today!
Eragy has released a new family of home energy management apps for the Control4 automation platform. The family features three tiered energy management apps to allow users to choose different levels of functionality and integration. This new suite of apps also includes a free energy status app, Watt's on FREE, and the Eragy Energy Challenge GAME that is free for Control4 users with active Eragy subscrptions.
The family of tiered apps begins with Eragy Energy LITE, an entry level app that provides basic whole house energy monitoring and energy cost information. Eragy Energy PLUS adds utility driven cost estimates, circuit level energy monitoring, cost charts, and email and text alerts. Eragy Energy PRO adds active control over devices and systems via the company's proprietary Intelligent Demand Side Management (iDSM) algorithms and Energy Management Rules Engine.
Eragy Energy PLUS and PRO are also ideal for restaurant energy management and other commercial users who want to gain a higher level of control over their energy consumption.
All five apps are now available from the Control4 4Store Application Marketplace.
A subway franchisee in Kokomo Indiana has recently opened a new Eco Restaurant, which features Control4 automation technology, along with Eragy's energy management platform to create a cutting edge fast food concept that's both economically efficient and environmentally friendly!
The store is complete with programmable light switches, thermostats, occupancy sensors, motion sensors, and daylight sensors. The Eragy/Control4 solution allows the restaurant owners and managers to view and control all of these features to help cut energy consumption. Franchisee George Estep says that the savings provided by the system will pay for the cost of the system in about 2 1/2 years.
The Eragy system allows staff members to remotely monitor energy consumption throughout the building from the Eragy website. Inside the restaurant, Eragy's Control4 energy app is displayed on a large screen to provide a new level of visibility for customers about the energy usage of the restaurant.
Huston Electric was commissioned to create the automated energy management system. “Control4 and Eragy allowed us to combine high tech with a positive environmental impact,” stated Huston’s Nate Cushman. “By organizing the different systems to work together, we’ve created effortless control with environmental consciousness that allows this Subway location to monetize their energy savings.”
This Subway restaurant, which is pending LEED Silver certification, will provide a model for future restaurant design as companies continue to search for ways to have a positive impact on the environment and on their energy bills.
Eragy is proud to announce our strategic partnership with Blue Line Innovations, the makers of PowerCost Monitor™ power sensor products!
Under the terms of the partnership, Blue Line Innovations and Eragy will be providing a suite of home energy monitoring and control solutions for consumers, energy efficiency professionals, Control4® dealers, and utilities.Easy-to-install Solution for Consumers and myEragy PRO Dealers
The PowerCost Monitor features a universal optical sensor that slips over the outside of virtually any electricity meter and then feeds that energy data in real-time up through a WiFi Gateway to Eragy’s secure web portal. It’s a simple, step-by-step installation process with no electricians required.
With existing PowerCost Monitor hardware, the Eragy solution offers several layers of engagement options for homeowners to help them save up to 20% on their monthly electric bills.Blue Line's wireless, no electrician sensor is proving to be the industry-wide choice for universal access to real time electricity data.Compelling Solution for Control4 Dealers
The combination of Eragy’s third generation energy management app for Control4® systems, Watt’s on Now! and the Blue Line PowerCost Monitor, provides Control4 dealers with an easy to install energy management solution for homeowners. The PowerCost Monitor connects wirelessly to a Control4 system, enabling Control4 dealers to install energy management systems in both new and existing homes.
Homeowners can then harness the power of Eragy’s software and Control4’s affordable IP-based home control system to control thermostats, lighting, and other systems in the home to maximize energy savings. Users can conveniently monitor their energy usage from their TV screen, tablet, Control4® touch screen, smart phone, or web browser, providing consumers with numerous options for monitoring and managing their energy consumption.Professional Solutions for Utilities
The combination of the Blue Line PowerCost Monitor and Eragy’s myEragy PRO platform enables utilities to rapidly deploy the first phase of consumer energy monitoring programs without the need for smart meters. myEragy PRO also provides a scalable platform for utilities to further reduce peak demand on the grid via Eragy’s award-winning Intelligent Demand Management applications.Click here to read the entire Blue Line/Eragy news release.
Eragy is proud to announce its sponsorship of Team NJ in the 2011 Department of Energy Solar Decathlon!
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is an award‐winning program that challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar‐powered houses that are cost‐effective, energy‐efficient, and attractive.
Led by Rutgers The State University of New Jersey and the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Team NJ
is a joint‐effort, multidisciplinary team comprised of students and faculty members who represent the future of green building in New Jersey.
As part of its sponsorship, Eragy supplied the team with the premium version of its Watt’s on Now!
energy management application and service for Control4® systems
. The Eragy app, working in conjunction with an eGauge
power sensor and the home’s Control4
system, provides real-time information on the home’s energy consumption and on the energy generated by the home’s solar energy system.
Team NJ’s house concept, code named “eNJoy”, has been refined over the course of the past year and was eventually selected as one of 20 international finalists in the competition.Team NJ's eNJoy House
Team NJ’s eNJoy and the other homes in the competition will be on display in the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. from September 23 to October 2. For more information about the competition, visit www.solardecathlon.gov
Eragy is proud to announce our third generation energy application for Control4 systems, Watt's on Now! Our latest Control4 energy app enables any Control4 user to save energy!
Free and Premium Versions Provide Energy Savings
The free version of Watt’s on Now! provides users with an easy way to visualize lighting, climate control, and audio/video systems and quickly become engaged in their home energy usage.
Users can also opt for a paid version of Watt’s on Now! to add monitoring of their whole house energy consumption as well as energy used by individual appliances and circuits within their homes. Homeowners can conveniently monitor their energy usage from their TV screen, iPad, Control4® touch screen, smart phone, or web browser, providing consumers with numerous options for monitoring and managing their energy consumption.
Eragy’s latest home energy management application also includes a number of new features targeted at users of solar and other renewable energy sources. The premium version of Watt’s on Now! provides an easy way for solar users to visualize their energy consumption and energy generation and easily understand the real-time and historical value of their generated energy.
Watt’s on Now!, coupled with a compatible in-home power sensor, enables homeowners to save up to 20% or more off their monthly electric bills. The app currently is compatible with the TED 5000 and eGauge power sensors and will support additional power sensors later this year.
Want to learn more? You can read the entire news release here.
Electric utilities are facing a huge challenge during this summer's brutal heat wave in the U.S. The load on their "grid" has reached all-time highs in many areas, making it challenging and expensive to keep up with the demand.
Electricity prices go through the roof for utilities on really hot days!
One smart grid concept utilities use to help reduce the load on their grid is called Demand Response (DR). They offer relatively small incentive programs -- say $25 per year -- for homeowners to be able to shut off your air conditioning (AC) compressors for hours at time during times of peak load on the grid. If you have more than one AC system, they may turn them all off.
In some cases, utilities offer programmable thermostats that they can control wirelessly during periods of peak loads.
I don't know about you, but I would prefer to be in control of when my AC runs or not.
Well, there is a better way. It's a concept that's been around for a long time and it's called Demand Side Management, It should be called "Consumer Side Management", because the consumer is in control of how their home runs.
Curbing peak demand is a simple concept. Don't let your big appliances run at the same time. When you turn your oven on to pre-heat, let's have the AC turn off for a few minutes to reduce the load on the grid. Or if you have two ACs, then let's make sure they do not run at the same time.
And if you throw in a utility rate plan that encourages consumers to cut their peak demand, they can reduce their electric bills -- upwards of 30% or more in some cases. Now that's a smarter grid!
So the next question is "how do we make this work?"
One of the big challenges with home energy monitoring involves your electric utility rates. Many utilities have very complex rate plans that can be overwhelming--if you live in California, you probably know what I mean!Try figuring out this bill!
Home energy monitors like the TED 5000 and eGauge don't always have the ability to handle some of these complex utility rates on their own.
Eragy's new Google PowerMeter replacement, myEragy, allows users to avoid the complexity of setting up and tracking complex utility rates! myEragy's Utility Rate Engine lets you select your specific utility rate plan.
We maintain every detail of the rate plan including the rates, time of use, tiers, demand charges, demand tracking, holidays, seasons, taxes, surcharges, and riders.
Go to myeragy.com
and give it a try! If you don't see your plan, please let us know.