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Connected Electricity Monitor

An "Internet of things" electricity monitor for the home that brings goal-setting and social competition to electricity conservation.

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The crux of the project is an indoor, smart monitor for a home's electricity consumption. With WiFi capabilities, however, the device can use an API server to log usage statistics and deliver to smart phone apps or the like. While the device would hopefully serve a great function, the connected portion would be the key to seeing any wide-spread use and thus, any level of environmental impact.

A practical goal would be to have 0.5% of American homes adopt the monitor (possibly through government tax breaks, etc.). If those 587,690 households could use the social tools and goal-setting to reduce their consumption by an average of 10%, it would save an estimated 641,052,252 kWh annually. This translates to 336,687 tons of coal per year.

This project requires no new technology. The device can be affordably built, and the software architecture is fairly light weight. Any large success depends on organic adoption and targeted marketing of course.

The device:

Smart monitors already exist. This project aims to develop an affordable and open-source monitor that can be easily connected to most homes. It is my understanding that it would likely be mounted within the breaker housing. The device constantly reads the kWh through this connection and updates the user's account via a WiFi connection. Setting up the network connection can be done a number of ways (broadcasted WiFi network, bluetooth, micro-usb connection, etc.). A small on-board battery and memory storage may prove useful for times of no power or internet outages.

The software:

An API can be developed with the following entities: users, devices, data entries, and goals. Once the data is captured from the household device, the possibility for apps, social competition, statistics, goal-setting, etc. is unlimited. The web architecture and implementation is far more important than the device as it is what drives users to make changes based upon the monitor's data. Gamification would be a primary tool in driving usage. The website could even host forums or features demonstrating how to reduce electricity usage on a household basis.

In addition, the site would have an api accounts for developers to use the data for their own projects involving Nest or other home automation/IoT devices.

  • 1 × Arduino Uno This guess is serving as a placeholder for actual part.
  • 1 × Arduino WiFi shield This guess is serving as a placeholder for actual part.
  • 1 × Small LED screen This guess is serving as a placeholder for actual part.
  • 3 × Electrical connectors This guess is serving as a placeholder for actual part.
  • 4 × Small button This guess is serving as a placeholder for actual part.

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  • 3D model to illustrate idea

    Jamie Howard07/13/2015 at 00:34 0 comments

    As I've been further researching existing smart monitors, I modified the basic design. I used Sketchup to throw together a 3D model to illustrate the idea. It's not perfect, but should convey the concept more effectively.

  • Initial task and question list

    Jamie Howard07/09/2015 at 01:58 0 comments

      Hardware

      1. How do smart meters hook up to electrical circuitry in a home?
      2. Will an Arduino-based solution have a problem with interacting with such a large voltage?
      3. How will the user change preferences and settings on the device?
      4. What components are necessary for user to interact with monitor?
      5. How much information should be shown on the monitor's screen?
      6. What is the device's optimal size in order to facilitate user interaction well?
      7. Research possible patent issues

      Software

      1. Determine minimal viable product scope
      2. Plan the API endpoints
      3. Architect database schema
      4. Set up temporary hosted server
      5. Wireframe user interface
      6. Outline possible, future use cases to determine marketability.

  • Initial idea

    Jamie Howard07/08/2015 at 18:45 0 comments

    I just had this idea today, so I'm starting the project here on HAD to begin work on it. With a sizeable adoption rate, this device and surrounding social implementation has the possibility to impact the global environment in positive ways.

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Jamie Howard wrote 07/09/2015 at 02:06 point

I hope that folks see the potential in this project. Seems like it has the ability to do a lot of good. Please feel free to add any feedback!

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