We've been on the hunt for an inexpensive an easy to use energy management system for awhile. At GreenBuild we were impressed with Verve Living Systems, a wireless home control system. It's self-powering, uses less materials and can even be less expensive than a standard electrical layout. Did we mentioned it's used in all the Make It Right Foundation homes? It's got that going for it, too!
Verve Living System is wireless — it uses radio frequency technologies, without any need for extra power or batteries because it utilizes energy harvesting. The fixtures and outlets are hardwired to a Verve controller, which is wired to the power source, but the switches and controls are wireless, communicating via radio frequency, and can be placed anywhere and be moved at anytime. Solar cells and the simple act of pressing the switch creates all the power needed for the system.
The system can save even more energy through it's programming mode. Programming features include the ability to create 'lighting scenes' so that individual or group of lights can be lit to desired levels all at once; 'all off' or 'all on' modes that adjust outlets, lights and thermostats to energy saving settings; a vacancy sensor to automatically turn off fixtures when a room is unoccupied and time limits for occupancy sensors. There is also a door/window contact switch that communicates with the Verve system — when a window or door is ajar, the thermostats or lights will automatically change depending on the desired programming. This would be especially useful when a window is accidently left open with the air conditioning is on, or to automatically turn on/off the lights when a specific door opens/closes.
Usually this type of technology might cost more money, but according to Verve (and Make It Right), it can actually cost the same, if not less. The wireless system reduces the amount of time and materials needed, including no need for batteries, and the ability to easily modify the system in the future. Unfortunately not all of the system can be retrofitted, and most is currently only meant for new construction or major renovations.
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