EnOcean has created self-powered, energy-harvesting sensors which monitor the temperature and light settings of a building and adjust them accordingly. The wireless technology functions to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs in buildings and industrial facilities. EnOcean’s wireless modules are in use in over 100,000 buildings. The sensors are located in EnOcean’s light switches.
The self-powered wireless energy switches and sensors capture energy from their surroundings using a combination of solar cells, thermal and linear motion converters. They are powered by energy drawn from movement, which could be light or changes in temperature. The harvested energy then transmits sensor data in a building to control lighting, heating or air conditioning, eliminating the need for cabling. Outdoor light sensors can be installed, which detect natural light and adjust indoor lighting levels. Additionally, occupancy sensors turn off lights when a room isn’t occupied, and window sensors lower the thermostat if the window is open.
The wireless sensors and switches can now communicate via TCP/IP networks. This means that when installed, any computer hooked up to the internet can communicate with the sensors and relay temperature settings and energy use to the server. Users can monitor and adjust settings outside the home, accessing the information from any internet-connected computer.
There’s even an app that allows you to get the information from a cellphone. Apps like VenergyUI let users monitor and control home energy usage from a cellphone, meaning they can activate the thermostat on the ride home and come back to a toasty, warm house.
According to EnOcean’s press release, the use of self-powered wireless technology enables businesses to save as much as 40 per cent in energy and operating costs. The wireless components save maintenance costs, as there is no need for costly installation, which requires ripping open walls to install hardwired energy management sensors. The cost is proximately $50 to $100 a switch, which are peel-and-stick. EnOcean hopes to expand the wireless sensors to hotels, schools, hospitals and even private homes.