Smart Power Points in the Integrated Home

3 September 2008 at 10:56 | Posted in Green Initiatives, Innovations, Integrated Home, Power Management, Power Monitoring, Smart Power Switch | Leave a comment
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[Category: Innovations. If you are new to my blog please read the “About itimes3” page first]

This is another one in the “Integrated Home” series – so far there have been the posts on Smart Water Taps, Sinks and Showers and The Smart Pan in the Integrated Kitchen.

When I switch on a light at home, or I plug my laptop into the mains to recharge, there is no easy way to know how much power I am using. Sometime next month, when the power bill drops into my email inbox, I know what I spent in the past, but what if I want to know what I spend when I am in the process of spending it?

And apart from the expenditure side of things, it might also be good to know what electrical appliances in my home use more power than average, or keep using power when apparently switched off – we all want to “go green” these days and it is annoying that we do not have the option to see what we actually use on a day to day basis.

I know that it is possible to buy power meters that plug into a power outlet between the outlet and the appliance, but those are of limited use only, because they only tell the story of that particular power point.

What I would like to see is smart power points and power switches around the home. Every single power point or power switch has a small LCD display, indicating the basics and other useful information:

  • whether the power point is operating OK
  • The number or IP address of the power point (for indentification)
  • The power group in the home that the point belongs to
  • The percentage of safely available power that is being used in that power group (depending on how many amps can be drawn from that group)
  • The power drawn by that power switch or power point at that point in time
  • The cost of that power per minute, per hour and per 24 hours 

All power points and switches are linked into the central computer in the integrated home, which keeps track of the usage and cost of power used at each power point, and should enable detailed and deep analysis of the power usage in the home in different ways, so that a complete picture of power usage per power point is available at any time.

The power cost can be set at the central computer, or in countries where once can change its mains power provider at the flick of a switch (such as in parts of New Zealand), the computer should also link into the switch that controls the provider, and update power cost information from this switch.

If you like this idea and you work in a type of industry where this is relevant, I would be happy to discuss in more detail, answer questions or assist in other ways. For details and contact information please see the “About itimes3” page.

George Spark

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