We are officially entering the era of Home Energy Management 2.0. Or 3.0. It doesn’t matter. It’s a whole lot better than the first .0, which featured energy monitoring systems that did a nice job of reporting your energy use—but little else.
Don’t go away. The latest level of home energy management not only affects real money-saving changes in your home—some of this stuff is actually cool looking, fun to use and dare we say, sexy. OK, maybe not sexy in that hubba-hubba or killer A/V way. But as the following products prove, managing the energy in your home is getting a lot easier—and more appealing.
And we probably won’t be in this 2.0, or 3.0 or whatever .0 stage for long. This stuff is changing fast. Take a peek at the cool energy-saving devices that are already here or will soon be arriving.
@1 year ago
Speakers can be a wonderful thing—if you have a place to put them. Those of you not willing to open the walls and/or ceilings are typically tethered to close proximity of your AV setup.
Well, Atlantic Technology wants to free up your speaker placement, with its newWA-5030 Wireless Transmitter/Amplifier System. The new 30-watt amplified wireless audio system is designed to drive a pair of speakers up to 300 feet away, all without having to run speaker wires.
For $399, you’ll get one WA-5030-r zone amplifier and wireless receiver and the company’s three-zone WA-50-t wireless transmitter, as well as a remote, a USB cable, and RCA input cables.
Just connect the transmitter to any RCA analog audio line outputs or a Mac or PC, via USB. From there, the system promises lossless, uncompressed CD-quality digital audio with a 48 kHz sampling rate over on the 2.4 GHz radio band. Atlantic Technology says that up to three WA-50-t transmitters and three receivers per transmitter can be used in a system.
Both the transmitter and the receiver have a three-position switch that assigns each pairing to either Zone 1, Zone 2, or Zone 3.
Atlantic Technology is selling the WA-5030 Powered Wireless Audio System now as a package. Of course, you can also add in additional WA-5030-r receivers
@1 year ago
Cool control comes in all shapes and sizes. Thankfully, it also comes in all prices. Pro Control is adding its name to the list of affordable options, with a few new handheld controllers and central processors now shipping.
First up are the newPro24.randPro24.ztouchscreen controllers. These remotes promise easy, one-touch use, but with robust capabilities. Both have a high-res 2.4-inch TFT LCD touchscreen and backlit hard buttons. The Pro24.z also adds in a programmable five-way joystick.
Exclusive to Pro Control’s authorized dealer network, the Pro24.r is available now for $249, with the Pro24.z priced at $449.
Each of those remotes is designed to be paired with a processor, so the company has also released the compatibleProLink.randProLink.z. Each one boasts use of macros for professional-grade control, as well as routable IR ports with adjustable output strength, two voltage-sensing inputs, and Ethernet ports for network-based control.
The ProLink.z has an integrated 2.4-GHz ZigBee antenna for bidirectional communication via the Pro24.z controller, as well as two-way RS-232 ports for added control and monitoring. The ProLink.r has an integrated 433-MHz RF antenna for one-way communication via the Pro24.r.
Both of the new controllers will also work with compatible iOS apps. The ProLink.z app is coming in April, with an app for the ProLink.r and Android devices expected sometime this spring.
Around that same spring release, we should expect to see the iPro.8 companion controller. This will allow users to combine a dedicated remote with the use of a tablet, smartphone or PC, all in the name of AV control.
Like their control counterparts, Pro Control says that the ProLink.r and ProLink.z are available now. They are also priced at $249 and $449 each, respectively.
“Since their introduction at CEDIA, there has been a great deal of anticipation for our control solutions, and we couldn’t be more excited to announce that they are now shipping,” said Mike Everett, general manager for Pro Control. “The stunning Pro24.r and Pro24.z touchscreen controllers and powerful ProLink.r and ProLink.z processors allow dealers to provide their customers with unmatched control at an exceptional value.”
@1 year ago
@1 year ago
Photo: General Motors/NASA
A robotic glove developed by General Motors and Nasa will let workers and astronauts grip tools for longer, with less force and more comfortably.
It’s a spin-off of Robonaut 2: a humanoid assistant that’s currently working on the International Space Station. R2 has a life-like hand with sensors, actuators and tendons in his fingers, which offer him greater level of dexterity and force.
The team recycled those bits and put them in a wearable glove. So, if the finger-tip pressure sensors detect that the user is grasping a tool, tendons automatically retract, pulling the fingers into a gripping position and holding them there until the sensor is released.
“When fully developed, the Robo-Glove has the potential to reduce the amount of force that an auto worker would need to exert when operating a tool,” said Dana Komin, GM’s manufacturing engineering director.
So an astronaut or factory worker might need to use 15-20 pounds of force to hold a tool — but with the “The Human Grasp Assist” glove, only five-to-ten pounds of force might need to be applied. This allows the wearer to hold a grip longer and more comfortably.
The current prototypes weigh about a kilogram and include the control electronics, actuators and a small display for programming and diagnostics. A lithium-ion power-tool battery with a belt clip is used to power the system. The glove’s dashing blue fabric was produced by Oceaneering Space Systems, which is the same company that provided R2′s skin.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded Panasonic Home & Environment Company a 2012 ENERGY STAR® Sustained Excellence Award in recognition of its continued leadership in manufacturing innovative and energy efficient ventilation fans. Panasonic’s accomplishments will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on March 15, 2012, which marks the 20th anniversary of ENERGY STAR.
An ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year in 2011 and 2010, Panasonic Home & Environment Company will be honored with the EPA’s most prestigious award for its long-term commitment to sustainability. With the highest efficacy (up to 23.3 cubic feet per minute/Watt) of any ENERGY STAR rated ventilation fan, Panasonic continues to exceed standards with its entire product line where guidelines exist.
“Panasonic is proud to partner with ENERGY STAR in protecting our environment through energy efficiency,” said Anita So, marketing manager, Panasonic Home & Environment Company. “The Sustained Excellence Award, not only acknowledges our continued dedication in providing innovative products, but recognizes our commitment to sustainability through our education initiatives and corporate outreach.”
Across the U.S., top companies and organizations are leading the way toward a more energy-efficient future through participation in ENERGY STAR.
The 2012 Sustained Excellence Awards are given to a select group of organizations that have exhibited outstanding leadership year after year. These winners have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by setting and achieving aggressive goals, employing innovative approaches, and showing others what can be achieved through energy efficiency. These awards recognize ongoing leadership across the ENERGY STAR program including energy-efficient products, services, new homes and buildings in the commercial, industrial and public sectors. Award winners are selected from about 20,000 organizations that participate in the ENERGY STAR program.
Over the past 20 years, American families and businesses have saved nearly $230 billion on utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to those from more than 350 million vehicles with help from ENERGY STAR.
“As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ENERGY STAR program, EPA is proud to recognize Panasonic Home & Environment Company with the 2012 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Panasonic and all our ENERGY STAR award winners are helping Americans find cost-effective ways to save energy in everything we do, which is good for our climate, our health, and our future.”
@1 year ago
Powerhouse Dynamicshas released a new wireless version of itseMonitorenergy monitoring system.
The new eMonitor4 delivers Wi-Fi signals from the system’s gateway to a home’s router, as well as 2.4GHz wireless communications from a base unit installed inside the electrical panel to the gateway, avoiding the need to run wires outside the panel. This is a welcome sign, as previous wired versions of the eMonitor often dictated locating a home’s router nearby. The eMonitor’s web-based interface can also monitor and control wireless thermostats on a home’s Wi-Fi network.
The eMonitor4 is based on the same platform as the eMonitorc-Seriesfor small commercial facilities released last year. In addition to wireless communications, the system offers a more powerful entry-level option and a more flexible expansion path, the company says. Users can monitor 12 circuits with the Base Unit (plus the two main electrical feeds) and add expansion pods, each serving 10 circuits. The expansion pods can also fit inside most electrical panels. One Gateway can support up to 10 eMonitors.
The company says it has not experienced interference issues from sending wireless signals from the electrical panel in residential installations. “The system is designed to store up to 14 days of data in the panel in the case communications is lost, and uploads automatically when it reconnects,” says Powerhouse Dynamics CEO Martin Flusberg. “The eMonitor will also reboot itself if it can’t connect to the Gateway within two hours as a means of forcing a connection, but we have not seen that happen in the field.”
At the moment, the only thermostats eMonitor supports are the Radio Thermostat CT30 and CT80. “Customers love the interface we created,” says Flusberg. “To adjust the thermostat you just move the horizontal bars to change temperature and vertical bars to change times. Another chart shows a plot of temperature versus setting, which really provides insight into thermostat operation, and is one of the sets of data we will be using to try to optimize performance, which we have not yet released.”
The eMonitor software service is delivered over the web and via mobile devices, and turns energy data into actionable intelligence by analyzing and diagnosing the data and delivering energy savings recommendations, along with cost, usage, safety and appliance performance alerts. Pricing is $499 for an eMonitor4-14, with monthly subscription pricing starting at $7.99 for an eMonitor 14 entry-level unit. An iPhone app is available, and Android is in the works. The eMonitor can also monitor energy production of solar PV and wind turbines, and can monitor the electricity used by geothermal heat pumps.
The eMonitor is available from a dealer network that operates throughout North and Central America and the Caribbean, as well as via on-line retailers includingenergycircle.com, andefi.org. In addition, Ingersoll Rand recently announced that it has integrated the eMonitor with itsNexia Home Intelligence system, and is selling the combined system through its network of HVAC dealers and major builders.
@1 year ago
The key to saving energy in your home? It’s your smartphone. According to research firmON World, two-thirds of smartphone users are interested in home energy management services, and 57 percent prefer smartphones as their energy interface device.
This is no big secret, as many home energy monitoring and management services come with free smartphone apps. Home security and automation services that include some basic energy management from big service providers like NYtech-AV also tout smartphone control—and those who have it seem to love the fact that they can turn their thermostat up or down or adjust their lights from their iPhones, BlackBerries or Android-based devices.
This kind of connectivityand ease of use is critical to effectively managing the energy use in our homes. And we shouldn’t need another in-home display for this, as the ON World findings in its recently published report, Home Energy Management: Early Adopter Views & Preferences, confirm:
• 72 percent indicate that automated systems that require minimal time or effort are “important” or “most important.”
• Compared with the previous survey, 20 percent more respondents today indicate they are likely to use a smart thermostat.
• Access to real-time energy data is ranked as one of the most important energy savings strategies. Fewer respondents in the current survey indicate that they are likely to purchase a dedicated energy display.
Most of us are holding the key to saving energy in our homes right in our hands—in the form of those now-ubiquitous smartphones and iPals. Spend a few hundred on some basic energy management, download an app and start controlling your energy spending—and you’ll see a return on that investment
@1 year ago
The EMP ES1010isubwoofer is a compact dual 10” ported sub with 250 watt amplifier combining beautiful aesthetics with competent performance. NO this sub won’t win any output or extension wars. If that is your primary goal, then look elsewhere, but also realize you will likely be getting a large pedestrian black box with little to no WAF at this price point (and even possibly higher).
The ES1010i does deliver solid bass performance at a modest price without requiring a forklift to move it or without occupying too much precious floor space since it’s taller than it is deep. It blends perfectly with their matching E5Tti or E55Ti towers, but can also work extremely well with small satellite speakers due to its rather extended upper frequency response. $499 delivered to your door with a generous 30 day return policy seems about right to me and I surely hope you agree if you’re looking to add some boom with style to your system.
The ES1010i earns our Audioholics Bassoholic “Small” room rating making it ideal for 1,500 ft^3 listening space or slightly larger rooms for users not concerned with achieving full-scale reference levels.
@1 year ago
Some people immediately get that the iPad can become the controller for an automation system, allowing them to control not only their audio/video gear but also their lights, HVAC, security, and irrigation systems. Then, when you explain that the iPad’s Internet connectivity plus automation equals being able to control your system from anywhere in the world, it’s like watching fireworks of possibility exploding.
Besides the expected reasons why you might want to contact your home via iPad — say, turning lights on before you arrive late at night or preparing the spa after a long day or cueing your Barry White playlist before returning from “date night” — here are four sound arguments why you might want your home to contact you.
Sure, with a remotely accessible thermostat, you could personally monitor the temperature and humidity in your combo wine/cigar/rare documents room or check that a faulty A/C compressor isn’t creating a localized Ice Age. But that’s time you could be using your iPad for something else, like playing Angry Birds or watching the latest installment of “Will It Blend?” Imagine how much better it would be if your home sent you an e-mail any time the temperature or humidity exceeded a certain limit. If the temperature rises or plummets several degrees, you could head off possible problems before they become major situations. Sure, you can still check in for a little manual reassurance, but why not let a way more capable — and less homicidal — HAL9000 do it for you?
Between hot-water heaters, ice makers, plumbing lines, and storms that could break windows, the potential for water damage is very real. You never hear stories about pipes bursting when the homeowner was right there to stop it. Oh, no! Pipes wait until you’re deep into your vacation before bursting to inflict maximum damage. Strategically placed water sensors could notify you immediately of a problem — and even cut off the water flow entering into your home — to ensure you don’t come home to your own version of Titanic.
If you have regular visits from housekeepers, pet sitters, or repair people, your home could send you a little message every time an entry door is opened. That’s nice. Even nicer is coupling this with a smart door lock like Kwikset’s Smart Connect. Giving each person a unique access code can send a specific message to let you know when they’ve arrived and left. “I know you said you walked Snoopy for an hour, but my home says you got here at 1 p.m. and left at 1:15, and now I have a pile of ‘I didn’t get my walk!’ on the carpet!”
Whether it’s being notified that your kids made it home safely from school or just knowing exactly how late that date ran, a smart home can keep you in the know. Beyond that, with sensors measuring current draw from devices, your home could send you an e-tattle letting you know if they’re, say, playing Call of Duty 4 instead of working on homework. Doubtless this case of fighting technology fire with fire will make you the coolest parent around (wink)!
@1 year ago
#home automation #home control #Home Theater #Apple #CCTV Security #control4 #crestron #Wired Homes #Smart Home
At the 2012 CES, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) awarded Walt Zerbe the 2012 TechHome Leadership Award for his 25-year involvement with the custom and commercial audio/video, automation, recording and pro-sound industries. Zerbe is a product manager for emerging technologies for Russound, and serves as vice chairman of the CEA Home Audio
Division and chairman of the joint CEA/CEDIA R10 standards group. Previously, Zerbe served on the CEA TechHome division board, and was president of a custom low-voltage integration firm and audio product manager for On-Q/Legrand.
CEA presents the TechHome Leadership Award to an individual who has made significant contributions to the growth and success of the TechHome industry, displaying industry dedication and service. Zerbe, along with the CEA 2011 Mark of Excellence System Integrator finalists and winners, was honored at the 2012 International CES.
“Walt Zerbe’s dedication and contributions in TechHome set high standards in home installation and automation that will continue to facilitate the growth of this dynamic industry in years to come,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA.
For the first time this year, CEA included the Mark of Excellence System Integrator Awards as part of the International CES. The awards program recognizes the best in custom installation projects and installed technology. Custom installers can select from more than 14 different categories to submit projects ranging from security, energy management, tele-wellness and home theater. Award entries were reviewed and judged by an independent panel of industry experts.
@1 year ago