Using Cutting Edge Smart Home Technology To Cut My Energy Bills

For many years, Paul Grey has worked with cutting edge technology and decided early this year that it was time to bring that experience to his home setup.

Frustrated with his ever increasing energy bill, the first thing on his agenda was making his heating and hot water system as efficient as possible and working at peak performance.

"I needed to get my heating bill to a manageable level and quickly"

Paul Grey

Main House

After taking those initials steps, he could use the savings to add lighting, security and other features to his network. Building the system up gradually allowed Paul to spread the costs. By not rushing, he was also able to learn as he went, giving the opportunity to configure things optimally along the way.

Why Paul Grey chose Z-Wave

Since Paul is keeping up with all the new technology that hits the street, he looked at products like Hive and Nest but he needed something that integrated with his existing system.

So Z-Wave was the answer after looking at the extensive amount of products offered and he could mix and match as he expands his system. After investigating into the available controller options, such as the Fibaro Home Center and others, Paul finally decided to opt for a Vera Controller.

It provided the level of control sought after but more importantly with its active developer community and application plug-ins, it fulfilled all the requirements for future device support and additional functionality.

"After lots of research, Z-Wave was the only route to take"

Paul’s System Details

Paul already had solar PV panels installed on his property and wanted to utilize excess generated electricity to heat his domestic hot water. He also wanted to integrate the ability to monitor his hot water storage tank for feedback to his hot water control setup.

DCH Secure SSR302 Two Channel Boiler Receiver Domestic Hot Water

Paul incorporated a Secure two-channel boiler receiver to work in conjunction with an iQE wireless thermostat used for general house temperature monitoring with the Vera.

The Vera also provides a number of scenes to control the hot water tied into some logic further refining the control.

Z-Wave Fibaro Universal Sensor Within the airing cupboard of the bathroom, the hot water storage tank temperature is monitored by a Fibaro Universal Sensor fitted with 4 temperature probes and provides the tank temperature readings for the top (100%), three-quarters (75%), half (50%) and one-quarter (25%) levels.

For logging these temperature readings, Paul uses a Vera graphing and logging plug-in. Now he is able to analyze the hot water usage and profile when its needs additional heating depending on tank temperature capacity. This is especially useful with the capability of using the excess PV generated electricity to provided water heating during sunny days.

Future plans are to incorporate the weather forecast for the day into the equation to further control whether there is a need for a morning boost of gas hot water heating.

Danfoss Radiator Thermostat Heating

For the Smart Home Heating needs of the house, Paul have has been divided it into a number of zones based on their usage and functionality.

Within these zones, the majority of radiators are fitted with Z-Wave Radiator Thermostats and controlled by the Vera.

Aeotec Multisensor Paul has also used the Vera to program a number of scenes using timed events along with motion and temperature sensors to control the heating in the zones.

Since heat rises in a home, one of the first places Paul attacked was the attic. He installed an Aeotec Multisensor to provide light & temperature level along with motion sensing so he could balance the heating in comparison to the rest of the house.

Using the readings from the Aeotec Multisensor, Paul programmed the Vera to send signals to the radiator thermostat on his attic radiator to adjust the temperature to a lower level.

Paul also installed thermostats to the radiators in all of the bedrooms to further control heating.
A Z-Wave Temperature and Humidity sensor is also fitted in the hallway to provide additional sensor feedback to cut his heating bill even further.

Everspring SP814 Motion Detector Lighting and Security Everspring On Off Socket TKB TZ68 On Off Socket

In addition to controlling the hot water and heating, Paul also wanted to include intelligent lighting control and integrated security sensors and CCTV cameras into his system.

Starting in the hallway, a Fibaro Universal Dimmer was installed and the Vera was programmed so that prior to sunset, the hall lighting automatically comes on and turns off just before midnight.

In addition, a Motion Detector was fitted to include the stairs and provides ad-hoc lighting in the early hours by use with a Z-Wave On/Off socket controlling a night light.

In the Lounge area, a Z-Wave Motion Detector was fitted to the ceiling of the room covering the area and provides for the control of a table light via an On/Off Socket.

Everspring SP103 Motion Detector Everspring HSM02 Door Window detector The garage was fitted with both an Door/Window detector and Motion Detector to provide both security and lighting control.

All external doors are fitted with Door/Window detectors and are used in conjunction with the security logic in the Vera. All security events are reported via email to Paul as well as triggering various features and/or alarms.

Future Plans

In the future, lighting control is planned for the attic using the motion and light level capabilities of the Aeotec Multisensor that is already installed and integrate some of the CCTV and additional security functions of the house into the system for better monitoring.

Paul also wants to use the MyVera application with the kitchen Android tablet to provide an intuitive and easy to use GUI for the rest of the household.

In his role as Chief Geek of the family, Paul also wants to develop some customized Android applications for the system to wring even further savings out of his system.


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