RevoluSun Smart Home wants to help people be smart consumers of energy, so instead of a monthly summary and monthly averages of kWhs used, their consumption monitoring system allows homeowners to see their usage online, in real time, broken down into hours of the day. At this level of detail, usage patterns emerge.
Living808, KHON2 | April 27, 2016
0:00 Trini: If you’ve ever wanted to know exactly how much energy your household consumes, there is a way to get that information thanks to RevoluSun. They’ve got a new monitoring system and we’re learning all about it today. I’m here with David Gorman. Hello, David.
0:13 David: Hi, Trini. Welcome back to the Innovation Center, how are you?
0:15 Trini: Thank you, I’m doing great. So tell us about this consumption monitoring system.
0:20 David: Well, you’ve had PV for a while now, right?
0:23 Trini: Yes.
0:24 David: But before, did you ever open up your electricity bill and go, whoa, where did all that electricity go?
0:28 Trini: That happened a lot.
0:31 David: It did. I’m the guy that follows my kids around the house and turns lights off, so, it’s still happening at my house. But, yeah, this consumption monitoring system can kind of take the mystery out of your electric bill and really help our future RevoluSunaries learn more about how they’re using electricity in their homes.
0:45 Trini: Okay, and so how does that—is it, is it something that you install?
0:48 David: Yeah, it’s really pretty simple. It’s a combination of some hardware that we install—I’ve got it here—and some software that you look at to learn about your energy usage.
0:57 Trini: Okay. So how does this work?
1:00 David: So, we have here, these are called current transformers or CT clamps for short—they look like little donuts—and what we do is we open up your electrical panel, we open these up, and we clip them around the wires in your electrical panel. What they do is they’re able to measure the amount of electricity that’s passing through this current transformer, this CT clamp. And so, when you turn stuff on in your house, obviously more electricity starts flowing through the CT clamp. It picks that up, and through this communication device, it uploads that data up on to the internet and then it charts it onto a graph so you can see how your energy usage is changing throughout the day and throughout the night, based on what’s on in your home.
1:38 Trini: That’s really great because often times you hear about these reports, like these monthly reports, but with this you can actually check it day-by-day, is that right?
1:48 David: Minute by minute, even. So yeah, I mean, that’s always been the issue. You get this electric bill at the end of the month and you have no idea how it happened.
1:58 Trini: You’re like, there’s no way I used that much energy.
1:59 David: Yes, yeah. So a lot of times it’s air conditioning, or it’s, you know, things left on, a water heater, things like that. And so, now you can be aware of those things and then we’ve got a lot of things here that can help you lower that energy usage in the home.
2:13 Trini: Okay, let’s walk on over here. So, David, what are we looking at?
2:18 David: So here we have the graphical representation of what we’re monitoring on the electrical panel. So here in the top left you can see a summary, this is a three day summary of a home that we’re monitoring. Here at the top you see energy used, so that’s the amount of electricity that this home has used over the last three days, 115 kilowatt hours. A lot of people don’t know what a kilowatt hour is, or really care, so it’s really simple it equates it into dollars. And so, this home has used $37 of electricity over the last three days. Now this system also has a PV system on it, so it’s making electricity while it’s using it. So we’ve generated—over those same three days—102 kilowatt hours, which leaves us a shortfall of 13. So the net-effect would by buying $13 of electricity from Hawaiian Electric at this time.
3:08 Trini: Nice, that is great. So how can someone use this information to better their life?
3:15 David: So, you know what, yeah exactly. So where that comes into play is looking down below. So, if you’re looking that these green spikes here, that is what a PV system’s production looks like throughout the day. So this is usually around noon, right, so people can understand that there’s usually the most sun in the middle of the day. These little dips here are usually when cloud cover has passed over the PV system, so you can see how production has dropped. Down below, this white area is usage that is being immediately covered by this PV system. Then that red shaded area is what you’re buying from Hawaiian Electric during that period. So for folks that haven’t gotten a PV system yet, and are looking to sign up for Hawaiian Electric’s new grid-supply program, the way that program works is that, you know, really simply, your nighttime electricity is about half off, you’re daytime electricity is still free. So while half-off is good, free is always better, right? So we want to make as much of that electricity free as possible, which means taking these big red spike and maybe trying to move them into the daytime when the PV system is making electricity. So things like doing you laundry, right? No more doing laundry at 8:00 on Friday night, wait till Saturday at 11:00 or 12:00 and do your laundry then. Because you’ll be washing the clothes, and more importantly drying the clothes, using the electricity produced by your PV system.
4:37 Trini: Okay, so having a monitoring system kind of teaches you when you’re using the most electricity, when you’re generating the most energy, and then you can use it to be smarter about it.
4:48 David: Yeah! So, you know, we have kind of a new saying around here, we want to make your “Home Sweet Home,” into a “Home Smart Home.” Right, and so in addition to the new Hawaiian Electric program you should be thinking about getting batteries, this is what we do to figure out how many batteries you need so that we’re giving you enough power when you need it at night. And now, we can really quantify what things like our Whole House Fans can do as far as savings for you air conditioning. So if we monitor your air conditioning, and you actually see how much electricity is going to run that air conditioner, if we install a Whole House Fan and now you’re running it 80% less we can really quantify how much savings you’re going to get with one of our Whole House Fan products.
5:28 Trini: Okay, I get that. And so, you don’t need to have solar already to install this?
5:30 David: You don’t need to have solar at all, and actually we’re installing this for all our new customers before they even get Hawaiian Electric approval. So we come out to the house, we figure out how big a PV system you need, we submit your application, and then we come out and install this monitoring system so that while you’re waiting for the Hawaiian Electric approval, you can start getting smart, learning about your energy usage, then when you get your PV system, you can get more value out of it.
5:56 Trini: Okay, David, thank you so much. This is all really great information. If you missed any of it, the best way really is to come on down to the Innovation Center, because you know here you can touch, and, you know, see how everything works. And again, this is just one of many ways you can make your home smarter, and you’ve got it all laid out here at the Innovation Center.
6:14 David: Exactly. So we’re here, Monday through Friday 8:00 to 5:00, and actually, an even better way to learn is to come to one of our monthly seminars. So every third Saturday of the month, at 10:00 in the morning, we meet here, we sit around our big table, people ask questions, and we really just talk about how all of these products here work together to make your home, not just more energy efficient, but a more comfortable, healthier, just better place to live.
6:36 Trini: Yeah, and it’s free!
6:37 David: It is, and you’ll even get a snack.
6: 39 Trini: Alright, David, thank you so much.
6:40 David: Thank you, Trini.