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Home Automation Brought Back to Life

Posted on by Taylor Moellers

“Very few people want to spend $2,000 to control the thermometer and some lights. For home automation to enter the mass market, it will need to allow the consumer to affordably buy a single product that solves a single problem.” – Home Automation Is Dead

Do I want to spend $2,000 for a home automation system? As a broke-as-a-joke graduate student there’s absolutely no way I could afford that. And even if I could, I wouldn’t want to shell out that kind of dough. And yes, I agree that products designed for a single purpose—to solve a single problem—inherently make them easier to use and more accessible.

In many ways these products are “keeping the solution much easier,” but I find the prospect of having to put together combinations of devices and applications on my own a bit daunting. It does give consumers the ability to pick and choose what they want to control; some people may only be concerned about controlling the lighting in their home and thus one product/one application may work best for them. But as I get further into the world of home automation, it seems to me most people want more than that. They want to set the lights to come on at a certain time, set the thermostat to cycle through temperatures throughout the day, set door locks and temporary pins, and so on and so forth.

Yeah, it’s cool that these products exist individually and I agree that seems to be where … Read More »

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And the winner is…

Posted on by Taylor Moellers

Thanks to ERGY, I am able not only to set my thermostat anytime, anywhere, but I can also see how those settings effect my energy usage and ultimately how many dollars I am spending to keep cool and comfortable this summer. As we found out in the previous blog, my roommate Pat and I are in a disagreement over the thermostat settings. I decided to find out just how much my preference for cooler temperatures is costing us.

I opted to start with the low end setting of 73°F – that way I’d be home in New Jersey for at least the last day or two of the 78°F period. Pat claims to enjoy the higher temperatures anyway, so leaving him to “enjoy” the last couple 78°F days in our apartment alone should really be seen as a gift from me. What can I say? I have a kind heart. I used the Vera Mobile app on my iPhone to set my thermostat to 73°F for 4 days, and then 78°F for another 4 days.

It was never a question of if setting the AC to a higher temperature would save money, but how much? The 73°F setting cost our apartment $2.58 per day ($10.31 over a four day period). The 78°F setting cost $1.59 per day ($6.34 four-day total). According to this experiment, setting the thermostat to 78°F (as opposed to 73°F) saved us almost $1 per day. While $1 does not seem like much, in actuality, assuming … Read More »

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Some Like it Hot… and Some Sweat When the AC Isn’t On

Posted on by Taylor Moellers

Having a roommate is great. Besides the obvious benefit of splitting the rent, a roommate is there to lounge on the couch with, to unlock the door when you forget your keys, and to help you eat all those extra cookies. Because, really, who goes through the hassle to bake just one cookie?

At the same time, living with a roommate can sometimes be hard. My roommate, Pat, is from Arizona and considers 90°F great weather. I, on the other hand, spend such days burning to a crisp while simultaneously trying not to melt. So here comes our disagreement: what temperature do we set the thermostat at?

We’ve found ourselves in a debate between comfort and cost savings. Before moving to Denver, I taught students about the importance of energy conservation, and even preached about giving up a little comfort by setting the thermostat back a few degrees to save energy. But hey, I don’t like to sweat in my home either. I’m a low 70s girl, whereas he’d rather punch it to the high 70s. Right now we’ve agreed to keep it at 75°F, but still… I’m a little uncomfortable. Whether you have a roommate or not, the balance between comfort and cost/energy savings is one we all have to strike.

According to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) page on energy saving thermostat settings:

By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill — a … Read More »

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Enabling Smarter Energy Decisions: A Beginner’s Experience with Home Energy Management

Posted on by Taylor Moellers

Hey y’all! I’m Taylor Moellers and over the next couple months, I will be exploring the realm of energy management and testing out the home energy management system ERGY, the latest product from Echo Labs.

About MeTaylor Moellers - Mt. Evans, CO

I moved out to Denver 2 months ago, from the small college town of Harrisonburg, Virginia.  Before the move, I was working at the Virginia Center for Wind Energy at my Alma Mater, James Madison University.  There I received my Bachelors of Science in Integrated Science and Technology, a broad-based, applied science program that encompasses courses in energy, environment, biotechnology, engineering, manufacturing, telecommunications, computer programming, and social context.  I am committed to making a positive impact in sustainable energy use by spreading awareness and education about how each of us can make smarter energy decisions.

So how did I end up out in Colorado?  I am finishing up my first quarter in the Environmental Policy and Management Master’s degree program at the University of Denver (fingers crossed for finals this week).  Through mutual friends of my roommate Pat, I met Echo Labs’ Nick Thielmann at a BBQ here in Denver.  After an animated conversation about the current state of energy technologies, policies, and attitudes, I was curious to find out more about his work with ERGY.  So here I am, writing this blog to assess whether ERGY lives up to all of Nick’s boasting.


Paired with a home automation system, ERGY guides smart energy decisions quickly and efficiently. ERGY lets … Read More »

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