Wattvision was recently covered by Tekzilla in a ~8minute video review. They reviewed our V1 hardware, check it out:
Gateway + Cloud = Online Real Time Energy Monitoring
- Rainforest gateway and the Wattvision cloud now work together - Real time Smart Meter data available online
Princeton, NJ & Vancouver, BC – April 25, 2013 – Wattvision, an energy solutions company, and Rainforest Automation, a developer of residential energy management products, jointly announced that their two products are now mutually interoperable and form an integrated solution for consumers. The combination of Wattvision’s cloud-based energy monitoring platform and Rainforest`s internet-connected home energy gateway provides online access to accurate, real time energy data for residential homeowners, and forms a compelling consumer engagement tool for utilities deploying smart meters.
“Giving homeowners access to their own smart meter data is a proven way to show them the value of the new meter that has been installed on their house,” said Chris Tumpach, president of Rainforest Automation. “Providing easy, online access in real time allows consumers to engage at a higher level, and participate in reducing peak consumption – because they can see it as it happens.”
The EAGLETM Energy Access Gateway Link to Ethernet product from Rainforest Automation is a simple and affordable gateway device that communicates directly with smart meters that have been equipped with ZigBee Smart Energy standard wireless capability. It is able to read the smart meter data, and stream the real time energy information to the home Ethernet network and on to the internet. The EAGLETM is available from Amazon.com, and from the Rainforest Automation online store (http://www.rainforestautomation.com/choose_store), at the retail price of $99.99.
Wattvision’s cloud-based energy monitoring platform provides live feedback on energy use through a simple web and mobile interface. It also provides flexible access to the usage data and customizable alerts. Graphs of live data and history, raw data downloads, and rankings against other users are all available. Wattvision’s open API also permits users to share their data with other services, while maintaining security and privacy.
“Data from the newest smart meters is now accessible,” said Savraj Singh, Founder of Wattvision. “We can work with the same data the utility sees, and provide feedback to our customers via the web or phone to help them reduce their energy bills.”
Wattvision makes cloud-based energy data collection and analysis tools to help consumers and businesses save money on energy. Founded in 2009, Wattvision has created a complete web and mobile experience for iOS, Android, and other mobile devices that fosters awareness of energy usage and drives savings. The Wattvision cloud processes millions of data points every day and can interoperate with other third-party services through an open API. The company is based in Princeton, NJ. For more information, visit: www.wattvision.com.
About Rainforest Automation
Rainforest Automation, Inc. makes products that allow utilities and homeowners to manage residential energy usage. Our primary product focus is on the ZigBee wireless HAN (Home Area Network), and connecting the smart meter data stream to the home and the cloud. Our open, standards-based devices enable “plug and play” access to the smart meter data stream – not only for utilities and end consumers, but also for third-parties, such as suppliers of home automation equipment, home energy management system makers, and providers of value-added cloud services. The company is based in Vancouver, BC.
For more information, visit: www.rainforestautomation.com.
ZigBee: Control your world
ZigBee offers green and global wireless standards connecting the widest range of devices to work together intelligently and help you control your world. The ZigBee Alliance is an open, non-profit association of approximately 400 organizations driving development of innovative, reliable and easy-to- use ZigBee standards. The Alliance promotes worldwide adoption of ZigBee as the leading wirelessly networked, sensing and control standard for use in consumer, commercial and industrial areas. For more information, visit: www.ZigBee.org.
Savraj Singh Wattvision 888-565-8425 firstname.lastname@example.org
For updates on the status of Wattvision 2, follow our Kickstarter updates:
Wattvision has recently moved to Tigerlabs Commons, Princeton's premier co-working space at 252 Nassau St. Tigerlabs is located just across the street from Princeton University, which gives us many opportunities to collaborate with the university and its students. We are currently working with Princeton University's Office of Sustainability to create software that spreads awareness of the university's energy consumption and sustainability efforts. In addition, we are mentoring students through the university's Princeternship program and Princeton Entrepreneurship Club, and have taken on one student as a summer intern through Princeton's Keller Center for Entrepreneurship. We hope that this new space will allow us to maintain our strong relationship with the university, its students, alumni, and the next generation of startup entrepreneurs.
Tigerlabs is also an active member of the Princeton community. Hundreds of members of Princeton Township came to show their support at Tigerlabs' launch party last week, and we are excited to be a part of this close-knit community. In addition, we hope that our proximity to NYC and Philadelphia will allow us to interact with these communities as well.
Our new location is at the heart of the entrepreneurial community in Princeton. We hope the collaborative environment will help us generate new ideas and create an even better product. We are already settled in at Tigerlabs and working on Wattvision 2! Here are a few pictures from our time here so far.
Hi Wattvision supporters -- here's a link to our latest update over at Kickstarter.
We're going on day 5 without utility power at my house in Pennington, New Jersey. Thanks to Wattvision, we know our home's exact load profile, so we were able to match our generator to our needs, saving tens-of-thousands of dollars in the process. I'd like to share how we did it, so you can do it, too. Let's first take a look at the typical load presented by our house on a given day, as recorded by our Wattvision system last Thursday, October 25, 2012, in the pre-Sandy world:
So looking at the graph, with time on the X-axis and watts on the Y-axis, you'll notice that we never use more than 5000 watts, and only come close to that for a very short period in the day. Zooming in, we were close to 5000 watts for just a minute or so that night:
Just for fun, try to guess the average rate of consumption for the whole day, in watts. Go on, give it a guess.
It turns out that, on an average day, we use an average of about ~660 watts throughout the day. What that means is, if we had a power source that generated just 660 watts, coupled with a 100% efficient battery that could accept and return power perfectly, we could power our whole house on just a 660 watt constant power supply. But that's not possible in this universe, so let's get a generator...
Choosing a Generator
Looking at our data on the typical day above and other days, we know that we'll never need more than 5 kilowatts for typical use in our home at this time of year.
Now, the wiring in our house can support 400 amps of current at 120 volts, so that's a cool 48,000 watts. Most typical American homes support up to 24,000 watts. So you can understand why a generator salesperson might want to sell you a system that can produce 20 kilowatts or more. "Because you never know!" But in our case, we have the data and the confidence that we won't need that.
During Hurricane Irene last year, we spent several days without power. On one of the last days, we purchased our 5.5kw gasonline-powered generator. This is a standard generator that you might find at your typical hardware store, but it also has a 120v/240v NEMA L15-30 outlet. We fired it up, and wired it directly to our home's well-water pump. I still remember the excitement we felt when we restored running water to our house. And then, while we were celebrating, the power came back. Thankfully we saved the generator, and it's come in handy during Hurricane Sandy.
Wiring it up...
So you have a generator -- how do you wire it to your home's breaker box, ensuring your whole house is back online?
The first thing you'll need to verify is that your generator has a NEMA 240v/120v L15-30 or similar outlet. This is a special round, typically 4-prong plug that has neutral, ground, and two "hot" 120v lines.
The next thing you'll need to do is contact an electrician, to set up either a generator interlock, or a separate generator-powered breaker panel. The emergency circuits breaker box is a common route, but isn't ideal -- you have to select the subset of circuits in your house you want powered by your generator.
In our case, we want to use everything in our house, so we opted for a generator interlock kit. The interlock is essentially a switch that allows you to either power your house from the utility or from your generator. When the power goes out and you know it'll be out for some time, you go to your breaker panel, flip a switch, plug in your generator, and fire it up.
If you try to wire your generator to your breaker box as a DIY project, you probably will not be in compliance with local electrical codes. Also know that it's extremely dangerous. For example, if your ground wiring is not done properly, you may inadvertently put 200+ volts on 120 volt lines, immediately frying bulbs and electronics connected to those lines, and potentially starting fires. Don't do it.
So how much does it cost to run?
When powered by the utility, we use about 15 kWh / day at the current rate. At 17 cents per kWh, we have some of the most expensive electricity in America, but it's still only about $3/day at the moment, thanks to our Fall climate here in NJ, and our optimization with Wattvision.
The generator uses about 8 gallons of fuel if we were to run it constantly for 24 hours. Assuming you can get a gallon of gas for about $3.50, that's about $28/day.
But, we can regulate our consumption -- we turn the generator off at night, for example. By optimizing our use, we've been running the generator for less than half the day. So about an extra $10/day over what we were paying normally. A decent rate if we're talking about only a few days without power every year.
Of course, that's putting aside the environmental cost to run our generator. But that's a blog post on its own. :)
What about Batteries?
The energy required to run our home for a typical day last week was about 15 kilowatt-hours. So how many AA batteries is that?
A single high-end rechargable AA battery is rated at 1.2v at 2 Ah. So that's 2.4 Wh. So to run my house for a day, we'll require at least 6,250 AA batteries. Putting aside the cost of the management electronics and all the wiring and little boxes we'll need to buy for these batteries, that will cost > $15,000. Ouch. (You can buy a pack of 8 batteries for about $20 on Amazon).
How about deep-cycle 12 volt batteries? You can buy a single battery for ~$130. This battery produces 55Ah and contains 660 watthours of energy. you'll need about 22 of these batteries, and it will cost about $3000 -- a little more reasonable.
Since we have electrically-pumped well-water here in NJ and the natural gas line to our house was not disrupted, the 5.5kw generator wired to our breaker box restored our house to life as normal. Granted, we can't think about running one of our 3 A/C units, which easily pull 5kw each, but in a pinch, the generator is just what we need.
Hopefully our power will be restored soon -- we're busy at work producing Wattvision 2, so we can ship it out to kickstarter backers in January. :)
Some people leave their computers on 24/7. Others turn them off at night and boot them back up in the morning. Have you ever wondered what's more power efficient? One Wattvisionary with a few computers on his hands decided to find out.
Jon R. ran a large, high-end PC day and night in his household as well as a smaller office laptop that he only used rarely. By using Wattvision, he discovered that his PC was costing $32 per month and his laptop was adding on an extra $7 per month. By shutting down his laptop when not being used and putting his PC on a sleep schedule, he was able to save a significant chunk of money on his monthly energy bill.
Have similar questions about your home's energy use patterns? Don't be in the dark forever; get Wattvision and answer your questions with accurate numbers to help you make the most cost-effective choices for your household. Every saving adds up, and even one change added up over months can make a huge difference.
Also, don't forget to check out our Kickstarter here. Every backer counts!
By now, you've probably heard about our Kickstarter campaign, which can be found here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wattvision/wattvision-the-smart-energy-sensor?ref=live
In just the first 5 days, we've reached half of our campaign goal of $50,000 thanks to support from Wattvisionaries around the world, including Treehugger and lots of re-tweets! However, we still have a long way to go to get to our goal and so we still need your help. Get the word out to everyone you know about how Wattvision is revolutionizing the way we look at home energy consumption and share our Kickstarter link anywhere you can... we can't do it without you!
Amidst calls for energy efficiency and going green, it's easy to be overwhelmed with where to start and what to change in your life or in your building to make the most positive impact. In a recent article by greentechmedia, Katherine Tweed makes the claim that the first step to using less energy is benchmarking, or simply taking account of how much energy you already use. To Wattvisionaries, this may seem obvious, but it's true: simply monitoring how much energy you use can cut your energy bill down by 5% before even making any significant changes to your building.
Having knowledge of your energy consumption grants insights into how to reduce your power bill, lower your carbon emissions, and even meet standards set by the government. The demand for energy efficiency will continue to grow exponentially this decade, and "Building data analytics need to happen 'at every level and every sized building'". Wattvision makes it easy to perform energy monitoring on any scale; anywhere there's a power meter, we can get you your real-time data so you can charge confidently into your future energy changes.
Wattvision employees are required to meet a weekly quota of time for fun and personal growth. To meet his quota, one of our programmers recently attended the "Graphic Design - Now in Production" exhibit on Governor's Island, NY.
Our programmer was surprised to find a reference to his weekday life: real-time energy monitoring. Here are some snapshots from the interactive design section featuring some tablet format publications shown on ipads:
Although Google Power Meter might be gone, the problem of needing real-time energy monitoring has not gone away, and Wattvision has the solution.
Keep the feedback coming; if there's anything we can do to design better hardware or software, let us know!
nytimes gave the exibhit a positive review, and here's a neat blurb on youtube about them. (it's free!)