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In my previous post, I presented some background on the green building where the SPARK Project #1 is being installed, and I discussed the basic signals that need to be measured for the project. In order to create inputs into my smart home dashboard, I need to measure temperature and humidity, both indoors and out, photovoltaic array output, solar thermal usage, and grid-tied energy input. I described how temperature, humidity, and photovoltaic output were going to be measured.

The local utility has already installed devices that measure natural gas usage and grid-tied electricity consumption, but they don’t provide the homeowner any way to read these measurements in real time. As with any dashboard, it’s pretty important that the information displayed is as close to real time as possible. Imagine trying to optimize the efficiency of your car based on monthly reports. It can be done, but it’s difficult to understand the impact of each change to the system. Electric and gas meters may be available with outputs suitable for monitoring, but I don’t think most hobbyists have the option of retrofitting their homes. Fortunately, better and less intrusive options do exist.

Read further on the SPARK Project blog to see how the remaining signals will be measured.

More:
SPARK Project #1, Post #1
Sponsored projects series with Windows Embedded CE


This SPARK Your Imagination Make: Windows Embedded project series is sponsored by Microsoft Corporation.

Kipp Bradford

Kipp Bradford is a technology consultant and entrepreneur with a passion for making things. He is the Senior Design Engineer and Lecturer in Engineering at Brown University, where he teaches several engineering design and entrepreneurship courses. Kipp is also on the Technical Advisory Board for Make Magazine.


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