PowerX, a crowdfunded “smart” home sensor system that promises to give people insight into their home’s electricity, water consumption, and water heating usage on a very granular level, claiming that it will enable them to save “an average of $360/year per person” on their utility bills, has hit its funding goal by a factor of 5X.
Now, before we get to the details of this story, I think we need to briefly talk about “smart.” The smart home of the future that we’ve been promised for years has never really arrived (and where are our Jetsons’ flying cars?), and although there are sparkly bits and pieces of gadgetry available to add into an existing home, and there are connected systems for homes that are limited in scope (lighting controls, for example), and there are a ton of individual appliances being sold as “smart” (a smart fridge that orders your groceries, anyone?), I believe the use of the word smart to describe most homes is kind of a reach. I propose we just add “er” to the end of anything that refers to smart home/device and just start calling them smarter homes. And now back to your regularly scheduled programming…
PowerX Smart Suite “gives you 360° insight and control into your water, heat and energy usage to save money and the environment,” according to its Kickstarter page, where it has already raised more than $100,000 on an original goal of $20,000, with 30 days still to go.
The system consists of sensors for electric or gas water heaters, the home’s water main, and the home’s electric panel, along with a central hub to connect them all and to transmit the resulting data to the internet, which is accessed via an accompanying app to allow for real-time monitoring of the home’s energy use.
According to PowerX, the Energy Suite system gives customers the ability to:
- View your real-time utility bill
- Automatically save money
- See how much you saved
- Learn about usage
- Set goals
- Detect leaks
- Receive and implement tailored saving tips
- See your automatic savings
- Monitor your CO2 footprint
- Get tips to lower your CO2 footprint
- Get warned about risks or before disaster strikes
- View your community data
- View comparison data
- View energy data
“The PowerX Energy Suite is risk-free and non-invasive, as the installation doesn’t require changes to plumbing or wiring. The sensors don’t require access to electrical outlets, either. The three separate sensors integrate with AI and a smart hub to connect and provide detailed information on usage – down to the appliance. PowerX Heat, in particular, can reduce water heating costs without any change in behavior by the customer. Its AI learns usage patterns and preferred settings to tailor usage needs to the individual household. PowerX Water monitors flow, detects leaks, and provides tailored suggestions for reducing consumption down to the specific faucet or pipe. PowerX Electricity monitors appliances, detects inefficiencies and sends tailored saving tips to the hub.
“The PowerX Hub connects all the sensors in the system. It uses WiFi, LAN, and LoRa connectivity with the internet. An accompanying mobile app allows users to read data from the hub, compare data, set goals, understand savings, and receive real-time alerts on usage or problem areas.”
Without seeing one of these smarter home systems in use, it’s hard to gauge how effective and accurate it is, but at just under $200 for the complete system, it’s not a massive investment, and the kicker is that if you wait until after the Kickstarter campaign to pick up an Energy Suite system, it will also come with a $14.70 per month subscription price. Backers of the campaign are promised free lifetime access, so there’s another financial benefit to being an early adopter of the system.
Disclaimer: Contributing to a crowdfunding campaign carries inherent risks, so as with any online “purchase” (or rather the backing of a crowdfunded project that does not already have the product in hand to ship to you when money changes hands), please do your due diligence and consider whether or not you feel comfortable risking the loss of that money before clicking the “Back this project” button, so to speak.
All images via PowerX Kickstarter campaign page.
Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.