I came across this very elegant residential energy efficiency dashboard from Agilewaves as I was thinking about user interfaces for my smart home project. I like the clean, intuitive design and the logical layout. Skilled interface designers were probably involved with creating this interface. I won’t pretend to be a skilled interface designer, and I do want to create a simple user interface that communicates historic resource usage and current usage measurements. There are a lot of tools available to create complex user interfaces with back-end stub code to simplify programming. Much of my programming experience involves embedded systems, and I prefer hacking systems that hide inside larger electromechanical devices, with an embedded controller to handle measurement and control with specifically defined user interaction. Thus, AJAX and PERL are not the first tools I grab to create an interface. I do have pushbuttons, 4 bit to 32 bit microcontrollers, and LCD displays at the ready in my tool kit. With those tools in mind, I’ve set about creating a basic look and feel for my dashboard.

In my previous posts, I outlined some of the general requirements for a smart home network that aggregates energy generation and usage data for a net-zero building. I have looked at basic measurement and control needs of the building’s users, and the sources of signals and the sensors needed to acquire those signals. I want to display this information to the users and occupants of the building. As a place to start, I’ve drawn some basic widgets that will be fed data for display.

Continue on to the SPARK Project blog to see more.