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Consumer Technology Ontario

Published on December 15th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan


Cool Energy Management Pilot Program in Ontario

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December 15th, 2010 by Zachary Shahan

Ontario’s Green Energy and Economy Act starts in 2011 but it has already spurred some innovative clean energy and energy efficiency programs. I recently had the opportunity to talk to a company working on an interesting pilot program in Ontario and I thought you all might like to learn a bit about it as well (if you haven’t already).

Calico Energy Services (which is managing the pilot project) and Avante Security Inc. have supplied energy management systems to 130 households in Ontario to help people better understand, plan, and improve the efficiency of energy consumption in their homes.

Additionally, Calico is working with the Ontario Power Authority to try out technologies allowing for better supply-side control of such energy consumption — in particular, at times of peak energy usage.

Want to know what specific technologies Calico and Avante are providing participants with? Of course you do. Here they are:

• The Avante Smartboxx™, an energy management gateway, which uses cellular based technology to coordinate demand response and energy conservation commands with multiple controllable end use devices such as the Avante Zigbee Smart Plug. The Smartboxx™ also receives and transmits data from a home’s existing smart meter, empowering the customer with information about how they use power.
• The Avante HVAC Relay, a key component of the Smartboxx™ solution, which enables the user to control a home’s existing thermostat and adjust the HVAC system, changing temperatures as required.
• EIS OpCenter™, the command-and-control center of the Calico platform, which allows energy providers to reduce electricity use through demand response, rate and price programs, baseline management, energy efficiency, and interactive customer communication.
• EIS HomeSMART™, Calico’s engaging home energy management interface, a web-based portal which provides residential customers with an intuitive and affordable solution for energy efficiency, demand response, and home automation.

OK, if you are not real into the techie lingo and couldn’t follow that, here are a few key features some of the technologies provide that I particularly like:

  1. You can access all sorts of useful information about your energy usage on the web;
  2. You can auto-program any electrical device in your home to turn off, turn down, etc. at any time of the day (i.e. when you will be out of the house at work).
  3. You can have an auto-alert sent to you on email, Facebook, or via some other means when you hit some specific metric you set (i.e. some flat $ price, your average monthly energy usage, an energy usage target, etc.)

Looks like a good pilot project. I’m curious to see the final results of this pilot program and the continued development of similar programs in  Ontario and elsewhere.

Related Stories:
1. Ontario Feed-In Tariffs Create Tens of Thousands of Solar Jobs, Cost = 1 Donut/Month
2. Canada’s Largest Supermarket Chain Going Solar (on Over 100 Ontario Stores)
3. Samsung Signs $6.6 Billion Solar and Wind Power Deal with Ontario, Canada

Photo Credit: ViaMoi

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.

  • Frank Hanlan

    Wouldn’t we be able to achieve greater gains by weatherizing our houses and businesses?

    • Zachary Shahan

      I think better education about energy use, more attention on it, and better monitoring (through such programs as this) would help increase the number of people and businesses weatherizing their houses.

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