Agilewaves Marries Monitoring and Control in New Smart System

Agilewaves Marries Monitoring and Control in New Smart System

Agilewaves Inc. has married its Resource Monitor with a Crestron control system to produce the first native integration of the two technologies, the Menlo Park firm announces today.

The result is a smart building system, the first of which has been installed at a design firm in Woodside, Calif., where energy consumption is now automatically tracked and controlled in real time, Agilewaves CEO Peter Sharer and CTO David Brock told GreenerBuildings.

Once such a system is configured, Sharer said, "it runs by itself."

"Home and building owners can finally monitor and automate the steps needed to reduce their energy consumption, carbon footprint and operating costs without relying on human intervention," Sharer said.

"The seamless integration of Agilewaves' Resource Monitor with our control systems provides homeowners with the most technologically advanced solution to create an energy-efficient home," said Bill Schafer, Crestron director of channel development, in a statement. "Together, we are empowering distributors and integrators to tackle the longstanding problem of energy waste from buildings in an entirely unique way."

Crestron, based in New Jersey, is the leading manufacturer of advanced control and automation systems.  Its products can automate a range of systems including electricity, gas, water,  HVAC, lighting, computer, audio, video and security.

The development of the system now in place at the Miller Design Co. in Woodside is the latest achievement by Agilewaves.

Earlier this summer, Sustainable Industries named the firm's Resource Monitor in the magazine's 2008 list of Top 10 Green Building Products. In April, Agilewaves announced that it had brought its Resource Monitor to Nueva School in Hillsborough, Calif.  

At Nueva School, which like the design firm is located on the San Francisco Bay Area's Peninsula, Agilewaves' Resource Monitor tracks gas, water and electricity use in addition to keeping tabs on the performance of the campus' green features. They include a 30kW solar system and two living roofs designed by Rana Creek of Carmel Valley. The school had been the largest installation for Agilewaves and the first in a non-residential setting.

The Resource Monitor, Agilewaves' flagship product, collects data from sensors placed in key areas. Real-time information on resource consumption that can be broken down to specific floors, rooms and appliances as desired and other data as customized — like the temperature, soil moisture, humidity of the living roofs at the school — are delivered via touchscreen, Web page or phone. E-mail or text message alerts are sent when consumption approaches the limits set by the users, who can designate the thresholds in kilowatts, gallons, carbon or dollars.  The homeowner or property manager then acts on the information to bring energy consumption back into line.

With the advent of the system installed at the Woodside firm, the loop is closed between feedback and control, Sharer and Brock said.  The Resource Monitor can now alert the control system to act and keep energy consumption within limits by adjusting a thermostat, lights, water or blinds, for example.

Agilewaves teamed up with Jetson Systems to write the software that made the connection between the Resource Monitor and the Crestron control system possible, Sharer said.

The potential for application in the residential and commercial markets is enormous, he said.  With ever-increasing concerns about environmental responsibility, energy conservation and cost management, "customers are looking for something exactly like this," Sharer said.

"Our phone is ringing off the hook," he said. "The integrators are desperate and they are coming to us."

The new system, Brock said, takes the mystery out of what's going on in a house or a property, which for the most part owners can't chart until something goes wrong.

"Your home is your biggest investment," Brock said, "but you don't know in any real sense what's going on in it.  In contrast, your car is fully instrumented. You can tell what's going on by looking at your dashboard."

Having monitoring and automated control capability eliminates the guesswork for property owners, he said. "This really introduces the age of the smart home," Brock said.

While energy savings resulting from the new system are being calculated, Sharer and Brock point to research showing that feedback alone results in reduced consumption averaging 10 percent to 15 percent, with highs that often exceed 20 percent reductions.

The base system has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of about $7,500, said Sharer, who estimated installation cost including the control system at $30,000, which could scale higher or lower depending on the size of property and the extent of customization.

Agilewaves was founded in 2006. Its first system was installed in sping 2007 and its 11th is expected to be completed this summer. Other projects in the works include the Resource Monitor as standard equipment in an eight-home development in Philadelphia.