My Energy Usage Dropped by almost 20% - 35%

Discussion of supported Energy Management Drivers and Hardware (TED 1001/1002)
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mcascio
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My Energy Usage Dropped by almost 20% - 35%

Postby mcascio » Fri Oct 03, 2008 3:23 pm

Well, thanks to the Energy Management plugin, my family and I have been really working hard to reduce our energy usage in and around the house.

Our last bill showed that we used almost 20% less electricity than the year prior which is HUGE.

Knowing how much you are using and the projected usage really assisted us in figuring out what devices are eating up electricity.

We used to leave one computer on all the time that we barely used. That was like leaving several 60 watt lights on all the time.

Our landscape lights were shortened to be on for only a few hours. I'd love to switch, or add, solar landscape lights, but they just don't seem like they are bright enough yet. I've tried some led bulbs, but they just don't seem to do the trick either.

Most lights inside are now compact fluorescent. I picked up some InstantOn ones at Menards that are dimmable and have a nice warm light color. Not true dimmable like I'd like, but certainly worth the cost savings and since MainLobby can set the dim level to exactly 25%, we never really use light switches for dimming.

Sensors are automating turning off lights in rooms where there is no activity after x amount of time.

Garage lights are automatically turned on/off during dark periods when a user pulls in / out of the driveway and the garage door opens.

Forcing monitors to POWER OFF after inactivity. Each one of my monitors usages about 100 watts x 3 monitors. That adds up quick.

The next step is to add a GREEN SWITCH to our MainLobby scene. This can also be tied to when no one is home or when everyone is sleeping.
The Green Switch will trigger Insteon to turn off any devices that are not required - such as the Russound and external amplifiers.

I plan to put an external amplifier on an Insteon APplianceLinc as well. That will turn on/off when any of the connected Zones on the Russound are on/off. That amp uses about 30 watts.

It's really turned into more of a fun game to see how little power we can use. Even when I thought everything was pretty much off, the house is using quite a few killawatts.

I'd recommend a Kill-A-Watt or the Watt's Up Pro to connect individual devices to - this will allow you to see how much energy that particular device is using.
Last edited by mcascio on Thu May 14, 2009 6:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
Mario Cascio
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Postby kevind » Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:30 am

That's awesome Mario. I can't wait to start playing with these.

You have just proven home automation systems actually DO reduce energy consumption. Now imagine if the entire north american continent could reduce by just 10%.

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Postby mcascio » Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:39 am

Hi Kevin,

Yeah - a home owner with proper automation setup and rules can become GREEN without it really inconveniencing their life.

The biggest thing you'll learn is that you should really put your house to sleep when you are asleep. Once you can see that you are using so much energy when you thought everything was off, you'll be surprised as you walk around and start finding all these devices plugged in or left on.

While I'm still improving things, I'd love to one day have the Kw Usage show under .5 kW. Even if just for a moment.

I'm certainly open to allowing users to discuss other things in our Energy Managment section such as things they've done to reduce energy. Or even solar and wind power solutions.
Mario Cascio

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Postby bigDvette » Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:27 pm

I also believe I am seeing a difference. In TExas it is hard until you get to about October/November to really know if you are seeing a difference because you can have hot September days and unless you can see average temps, it is difficult. It got cooler earlier this year.

However, for the first time in 14 months my avg KWH usage was lower than a year ago. I'm down to about 99KWH /day vs 110KWH/day last year.

Last month was 131KWH/day.

A few things I've found are big drains.

The pool, I've reduced 1 hr / day and cranked the salt chlorinator up 10% to maintain chlorine.

My lamp down stairs. I need a CF dimmable bulb, we usea 200W bulb in that lamp because it lights the whole room. I use half the electricity turning on what used to be 4-75w floods that are now CF floods.

computers, shut them down.

The SMS3 from russound was using quite a bit. It is going on ebay and I am now using the MLItunes plugin.

The washer and dryer (esp dryer) while not on constantly are about as much a 1/2 an AC unit. Ours runs quite a bit on Saturday.

Unfortunately the 2 bar refrigerators I have a reallly bad elec hogs, but we use them so they stay.

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Postby mcascio » Tue Oct 07, 2008 1:15 pm

bigDvette,

Unfortunately the 2 bar refrigerators I have a reallly bad elec hogs, but we use them so they stay.


If you drank your beers faster, you might be able to get away without the bar refridgerators. Of course, that might make you truly green. :)
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Postby bigDvette » Thu Oct 09, 2008 3:33 pm

:D - you assume that it isn't constantly being refreshed.

If I wasn't a lazy git I'd walk down stairs and get a beer out of the one in the butlers pantry, but who wants to miss that much of a movie. The one in the theater stays.

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Postby mcascio » Thu Oct 09, 2008 3:53 pm

Actually I was. :)

Straight from the store freezer to your mouth. :)
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Postby DaveB » Sun Oct 12, 2008 6:45 am

OK Mario - Time for a serious graphic makeover. The dials just do not work in all instances. Have you or are you looking into alternate graphics for the package?
Thanks!

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Postby mcascio » Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:24 pm

DaveB wrote:OK Mario - Time for a serious graphic makeover. The dials just do not work in all instances. Have you or are you looking into alternate graphics for the package?


DaveB,

Nothing in the works at the moment. If you can be more specific about what you're looking for or similar examples - that would be helpful.
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Postby DaveB » Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:01 pm

Something that plays better with the Lodge interface. I was going to show just the digital portion with maybe a bar graph or progress bar of some sort. The progress bar might end up on the toolbar layer for a quick instant view of total KW load. Something more interactive without needing to go to the full scene unless required. I want to end up with an indicator or two that is similar to a volume or signal strength meter that would end up on every scene. This may prompt more in the home to turn off the lights and other items.

What you need is a set of bars and level indicators that have setup fields that set the upper/lower limits for the object.

Now if I could just run MLS and ML on a thin embedded device that takes maybe 15 watts, rather than the existing 3 servers running 24/7 and sucking up 175 watts each; Life would then be great. :wink:
Thanks!

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Postby wireless » Fri Oct 17, 2008 11:48 am

Mario,

Are you using Insteon for the automation of your lighting?

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Postby mcascio » Fri Oct 17, 2008 11:50 am

wireless wrote:Mario,

Are you using Insteon for the automation of your lighting?


For the most part yes. I do personally have a few UPB/Zwave switches installed just for testing purposes.
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Postby mnkynifefite » Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:07 am

DaveB wrote:Now if I could just run MLS and ML on a thin embedded device that takes maybe 15 watts, rather than the existing 3 servers running 24/7 and sucking up 175 watts each; Life would then be great. :wink:


Dave,

Have you thought about a Dual Atom chip board? Namely the Intel D945GCLF2 (http://www.intel.com/Products/Desktop/Motherboards/D945GCLF2/D945GCLF2-overview.htm). At full load I get no more than 47W draw. It idles around 40W, which honestly comes from the Northbridge chipset Intel choose to use. If they would have used a less power hungry one they could have had it idle around 10W, since the Atom only draws about 4W each (it's a dual chip mobo). That said, it is more than powerful enough for most folks server needs. Unless you are doing a bunch on real-time rendering or using your servers for gaming (which seems to miss the point), the dual Atom has more than enough power.

I've switched out two of my "full time" servers so far, and couldn't be happier. Slowly but surely I plan on completely migrating. Plus, it's a mini-itx format, so they only take up the space of a large hard cover book. You can build a whole system (including a mobo, ram, hard drive, case, Pico PSU, etc) for right around $250.

My $.02.

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Postby beerguy » Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:56 am

That Atom setup looks great. What kind of case and power supply did you use and are you happy with it? It sounds like you are running MLServer on one. Do you by chance also have Homeseer running on the same one and how has the performance been?

Thanks,

Pat

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Postby mnkynifefite » Tue Oct 21, 2008 12:09 pm

Not sure if it's ok to promote a particular website on this forum, but I've used mini-box.com a whole bunch...realiable, good prices, quick ship, etc.

As for my system it's super stable. I don't run Homeseer so I can't attest to it's perfomance, but honestly I don't see why it wouldn't run since under full ML load I never get more than 9%-12% CPU usage. Plenty of overhead left.

This is the case I use (http://www.mini-box.com/M300-Enclosure-w-Bootable-CF-Reader_2?sc=8&category=87), since it has room for one PCI slot (which I use for a 4 port serial card).

This is the Pico PSU I use (http://www.mini-box.com/picoPSU-90?sc=8&category=13). It's a 90W, but you could get away with even a 60W if you wanted...I just like having the option of more power if I add more externals down the line. Also Pico PSU's are very efficient.


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