Ideally, a home energy controller would be programmed to calculate when loads should be turned on or off. It should also be designed to look at alternate solutions such as closing the window blinds before turning on the air conditioner to cool a room. The controller has to strike a balance between energy savings and comfort and convenience to the homeowner. The system should be almost invisible to the homeowner. If it isn't, it will soon be disabled.
The EMi thermostat is connected to an external modem that accesses the Internet via the regular telephone supply of a home or small business customer. When the utility company wishes to initiate a supply curtailment, it sends a call to the modem using a distinctive ring pattern that will activate the modem. The modem then calls a central utility curtailment dispatch station, from where it downloads the new settings to the thermostat.
In a survey of high-end entertainment households, when asked about the usefulness and interest of PC-based control services, respondents ranked energy management as the most attractive service option with 54% indicating that they had a strong interest in such a service. Utilities are aware and energized by this new demand, and as telemetry services become more widely available, Parks Associates believes consumers will be receptive to such services.
A commercial business owner in Southern CA, utilizing several stores in a strip mall, is currently paying $2,500.00 per month for electricity. He/she is being warned of a 78% increase by 2002, which would put his/her costs at $4,450.00 per month. This considerable increase in overhead will spawn a definite increase in his/her products and services to customers. In order to remain competitive, a business owner will be forced to find solutions to save energy on a long term basis.
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