The Future Of...Thermostats
The household thermostat has always been difficult to program--wasting energy and driving up your utility bill. But SmartPlanet correspondent Sumi Das explains how new networking technologies will one day connect your thermostat and meter to your PC, so you are better able to track, monitor, and analyze the energy usage in your home.
RE: The future of...thermostats
RE: The future of...thermostats
>> Sumi: Thermostats have been in our homes for years, they control the heating and air conditioning systems we count on. Unfortunately they're cumbersome to program. And when left unchecked we end up consuming more energy than we need. But in the future new devices will help us monitor our energy use, waste less power and save us more money on our utility bill.
>> Sumi: Cutting down on greenhouse gases is important to helping our planet survive. According to NASA levels of carbon dioxide are higher today than any time in the past 650,000 years. So how will we be able to lower our power consumption in the coming years?
>> We'll start seeing thermostats that basically will start glowing red when it indicates that you're using too much power in your house you can turn it down. Then you're also gonna have thermostats you can hook into your PC and program and it's gonna be a lot easier than programming that LED thermostat you have now.
>> Sumi: Michael Cinelus assumed spelling is the Editor in Chief of Green Tech Media. He says one day energy devices in the home will all be networked together. The meter in the garage will connect to your PC, which you can then use to program and control your thermostat.
>> Through your computer you'll set the hours, you'll set the temperatures and you're done.
>> Sumi: In Redwood City, California Silver Spring Networks is creating new technologies that will help connect meters and thermostats to the utility company's power grid. Raj Viswani assumed spelling is the CTO of Silver Spring Networks.
>> Raj: The communications technology is a wireless card that looks like this and goes inside of electric meters or other devices on the grid. What it does is allows utilities to connect much more directly with their consumers and to manage the grid better.
>> Sumi: Google, IBM and others are all developing new technologies to help us conserve energy. And Microsoft has created Home, a new energy tracking tool that works a lot like the money management software you already have on your PC.
>> The way that you can use it is you can go to any web browser in any machine and literally just enter information about your home and it'll give you a prescription of ways that you can save energy and help save the environment. And it'll actually start to give you a profile that looks at how much energy is your water heater using, do you have the right insulation in your home, should you consider replacing your windows.
>> Sumi: The software analyzes the information it gathers and makes cost-saving recommendations on your energy bill.
>> It's one thing to tell you, oh, lower your temperature by 2 degrees. Well, what does that mean? What if I actually could tell you lowering your thermostat by 2 degrees will save you, in this case, $196, right? Now that's real action and that's real money and it'll also tell me how much carbon I'll save if I'm interested in understanding how am I helping the environment.
>> Sumi: Of course, monitoring your energy consumption is only one piece of the puzzle. The most important part will be networking your appliances. Soon your washer, dryer, oven and freezer will all be connected.
>> You're gonna start seeing appliances get more and more intelligent increasingly as time goes on. Frig's and ovens and everything else especially dryers in your basement are gonna be hooked up with networking and basically you can hook them into your network, you can hook them into your smart meter and that smart meter then can control when those things function.
>> Sumi: It could be a couple of years before you see new thermostats and meters in the home, but the work is underway. And not long from now these technologies will be common place.
>> Sumi: The future of thermostats saving the planet and your wallet all at the same time. For SmartPlanet I'm Sumi Das.
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