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Big news...in August of 2013 DSI merged with 5 other high-end home technology integrators, and the new company is called VIA. For new blog posts, visit us at viahome.com/blog. Be sure to bookmark our new site and subscribe to the blog by entering your email in the box on the right side of the page.

VIA is the home technology provider for today’s sophisticated, luxury homeowner. VIA's clients enjoy state-of-the-art home technology including home theater, home automation, IT networks, and custom audio video solutions that integrate elegantly or disappear entirely into the home's design. As the nation’s largest and most-awarded home technology integration firm, VIA is uniquely qualified to provide its clients with an intuitive user experience, reliability, and concierge-level service. Visit http://viahome.com to learn more. 

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Hey Bigfoot, How About Sizing Down to a Smaller Carbon Footprint?

 

energy monitoring with iPad DSI Entertainment SystemsAll of us are aware of global warming, and even if you are among the doubters that mankind is causing it, no doubt you know we use a LOT of energy in this country and how much your electricity bills can cost. Ouch! Thanks to new energy management systems, your home can:

  • show you how much energy your home or business is using
  • enable remote control over your thermostats
  • give you suggestions for saving energy
  • notify you via text or email if a problem is found
  • if you have solar panels, show you how much solar energy you are generating and consuming, and track power flowing to and from battery storage arrays

Now that's a smart home!

We've been employing an energy management / energy monitoring system called eMonitor made by a company called Powerhouse Dynamics, and we love it. You can download a residential brochure here > eMonitor for residences and a commercial brochure here > eMonitor for business.

It is much more than merely a passive "energy dashboard" because it gives you actionable intelligence on your home or business' energy usage as well as (optionally) direct remote control over your thermostats. It shows your energy consumption in a few different intuitive graphs, and if you have solar panels, will also tell you how much energy you are generating and how the solar energy is saving you money and reducing your carbon footprint. You can view this information in a few ways:

  1. on your computer through an Internet interface
  2. through free Android and iPhone apps
  3. If you have a home control system such as a Crestron, Savant, Control4, or AMX system, the eMonitor can be connected to it for some smart home automation...more on that in a minute
  4. You can use an iPad to view your data, too, though you will have to use an Adobe Flash compatible browser such as the free Puffin Web Brower or the $4.99 Photon browser. (I recommend you download the free Puffin browser anyway for those times you need to view websites with Flash content).

You can't manage what you don't measure, so it is hard to know how much energy you are really saving when you turn off or dim your lights, and what environmental impact that energy savings means in the real world. The eMonitor solves that problem. The eMonitor is a device that is installed inside or next to your electrical circuit breaker panel(s) with sensors that clamp around each circuit. There are different models available depending on how many individual circuits you are monitoring and whether you have electrical subpanels or not. The hardware cost is very reasonably priced (starting at only $499), and multiple eMonitor units may be used for large homes and businesses.

Powerhouse dynamics eMonitor system at DSI
There is a monthly monitoring charge that is as low as $7.99/month, and if you prepay 2 years in advance, the savings is roughly 10% off. The eMonitor connects to the Internet through WiFi and it is able to work with both 120volt and 240volt circuits. To find out how much a system will cost for your particular home or business, please contact us.

Powerhouse Dynamics' monitoring connects your home to their "Analytics Engine" where they help identify ways to save money and energy. For example, based upon your home's usage patterns, their system can notify you if your refrigerator or air conditioner suddenly starts using a lot more energy, which is an indicator of it needing service. It will sense even if your refrigerator door is left open. If you set energy usage goals and you get close to exceeding them, their system will notify you.

Where energy management can get really smart is tying in the energy feedback info with a home automation system, such as a Crestron, Savant, Control4, or AMX home control system. We can create some fancy programming to automatically adjust lighting, motorized shades / drapes, and your HVAC system in response to real-time power consumption. Having this energy-savings flexibility is especially useful with photovoltaic (solar) systems.

Powerhouse Dynamics also provides a $140 WiFi-connected thermostat that is able to react automatically to keep your home or business within preset energy goals you set. Additionally, with their thermostat you can control temperature directly from the energy management dashboard.
energy management DSI Los Angeles
Besides electricity, the eMonitor system is also able to track water usage if you have a water pulse meter installed into your water main. The pulse meter wires back to the energy management system and voila...water usage information at your fingertips. Price ranges for pulse meters range from about $200 - $800 depending on size of the water main pipe (provided and installed by your plumber). Powerhouse Dynamics plans on monitoring natural gas next, which should happen by mid 2013.

The video below gives a good overview of the Powerhouse Dynamics' eMonitor system (information begins at about 30 seconds into the video), and for more information or to purchase one, contact DSI. We have offices in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. If you are not near LA or Santa Barbara, contact Powerhouse Dynamics directly here > http://www.powerhousedynamics.com



This blog article written by . Follow us on Twitter @DSI_Audio_Video
Josh Christian of DSI for energy management systems