Big brains behind a little wall screen – Home thermostats welcomed into the 21st Centrury

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Big brains behind a little wall screen – Home thermostats welcomed into the 21st Centrury

Excerpt from ‘Big brains behind a little wall screen’

Electrical Business Magazine, August 2015, page 16

by Renée Francoeur

Real-time energy use

When you’re driving your vehicle, you can gauge how well you’re doing on gas consumption based on the odometer.

“We don’t have that built into our homes,” observes Louis Szablya, executive vice-president of sales & marketing with Energate. “So we offer the equivalent of a car’s speedometer to a home… homeowners then have a gas pedal and the brake to control the energy use.”

Energate, which provides energy management solutions for utilities trying to manage their peaks, has now branched into the residential sphere, marketing its HolHom (“whole home”) system directly to consumers.

HolHom consists of Energate’s smart ‘teaching thermostat’ and Home Energy Gateway with integrated in-home display functionality. It also has a ZigBee to IP bridge (ZipConnect) and Wi-Fi so the system can be paired with the home’s smart meter. With this pairing, homeowners can “see what’s going on in real time, minute-by-minute with their energy use so they don’t have to wait 24 hours for a graph”, Szablya says.

“At my house I have the HolHom solution and I have an electric vehicle. I have one of our load switches on the charger so I can control the charging on that, see how much energy it’s using on the cloud [in the gateway] and I can tell you I use $20 a month in electricity for that,” Szablya explains.

He is also currently working on skins for the new version of HolHom thermostats, which will feature various woods and a surface that can be painted to match wall colours.

Working with the meters, HolHom thermostats are also price-sensitive and can be programmed to adjust based on peak periods during the day. This is a powerful tool for devices like pool pumps, Szablya says, because those can run at night instead of during the day.

One of the in-home display features is a Smiley or Sad Face icon that will appear and let you know if you’re doing better or worse on energy savings compared to previous weeks. Another feature displays how many dollars per hour your energy consumption is costing you.

The team at Energate is also working on HolHom+, which will target homes that don’t have smart meters. This system will have a sensor that attach to the existing meter (even old mechanical ones) to relay the information back to the gateway and thermostat.

Down the road, Energate says it hopes to launch more of its products previously available only to utilities to consumers, such as plug-in load managers and wire load switches.

Read the full article, see page 14

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