I recently ran across a story about a home energy-harvesting tech company called EnOcean. The company mostly offers such tech for commercial environments, but is reportedly moving more and more into the residential arena.
Examples of what kind of tech I’m talking about? Lighting, HVAC, security, and digital health monitoring powered by kinetic, solar, or thermo power.
“O’Callaghan sees a lot of promise in the home energy market for the thermo powered sensors to use the energy they harvest to signal air vents to open and close, thereby assisting HVAC systems to run more efficiently,” Steven Castle writes over on GreenTech Advocates. “And since heating and cooling represent almost half of an average home’s energy bills, saving money on HVAC is a great place to start.”
Here’s more on lighting options:
Kinetic devices for lighting control can eliminate the need to run wire from a switch to the fixture—and instead just have a powerline wire to power the fixture. The switches can be peeled and stuck right to a wall. Verve Living Systems already sells EnOcean-based lighting control systems.
Leviton also uses EnOcean technology in some of its lighting systems, though those have only been available for commercial applications, largely due to increased cost. An energy harvesting wiring switch could cost $40 to $50, as opposed to regular switch that costs a couple of bucks at the hardware store. And energy harvesting sensors can cost about $10 more than typical battery-powered sensors, O’Callaghan says. However, he maintains that in a new construction, the savings from not having to pull wire to light switches, for example, could result in savings of 15 percent—and 50 percent to 75 percent in a retrofit.
For more details, check out the GreenTech Advocates post or the EnOcean website (both linked above).