PALO ALTO, CA — A green technology startup aims to bring the power of the people to the building energy management game: The Palo Alto-based People Power Company today announced that it would soon begin selling the tools to allow individuals to create energy management tools for household electronics.
The company's Super Ultra Radio Frequency (SuRF) Developer's Kit willl sell for $150, and let tinkerers and engineers alike create tools on the Open Source Home Area Network (OSHAN) developed by People Power.
"What we're announcing today opens up endless possibilities for both developers and consumers. If you can dream it, you can now build it into your home," Gene Wang, founder and CEO of People Power Company, said in a statement.
People Power is developing smart grid technologies for appliances and fixtures to allow individuals to monitor energy use on a socket-by-socket and appliance-by-appliance basis. The company's technology is built on the TinyOS system, which was created at the University of California at Berkeley as part of the DARPA NEST program, in long form the Networked Embedded Systems Technology section of the Department of Defense's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
TinyOS already has a significant open-source developer community, numbering 10,000 people according to VentureBeat's estimate. And People Power hopes to expand that community even further by offering a competition for SuRF developers: The winner of the competition, which has a deadline of September 15, 2010, will win $5,000, 5,000 shares of People Power stock, and a free SuRF board.
Although aimed at the residential market, People Power's technology has wide-ranging potential for businesses. In an interview with InfoWorld, People Power CEO Gene Wang offered as examples server-based controls on thermostats in buildings that could be used to set temperature policies to save energy.
The same technology could be used as a demand-response solution, drawing down the power used by companies when demand is at its highest, reducing the need for brownouts or rolling blackouts, or other emergency energy management solutions. Wang also envisions an intelligent sprinkler system that could tell when it was raining outside and keep sprinklers from activating, saving water and energy.
People Power predicts big savings possible from smart appliances; in announcing the new developer's kits, the company estimated that if households could cut their energy use by 20 percent, it would result in $32 billion a year in energy savings, and greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 187 megatons per year, the equivalent of 40 million cars driving for one year.
For more information, or to pre-order a developer's kit, visit PeoplePowerCo.com.
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