I just got back from LightFair 2011 in Philadelphia and it was pretty eye-opening (yes, that's my attempt at a bad pun). The event consisted of a massive exhibition hall, key note speakers, and many different classes. I learned a ton, but below are some of the take aways that readers of Mapawatt Blog may be interested in.
Lighting Science and Android@Home
The Lighting Science exhibit definitely won for best outfits (beach style button-ups) but I was there to see their display of Android@Home. From this article on Google's plans to bring Android everywhere:
The company teamed up with LED company Lighting Science Group to develop an open source wireless protocol that can be used to roll out inexpensive hardware for mesh networking.
Lighting Science wants to bring the first networking-enabled LED light bulbs to the market by the end of the year, and consumers will be able to control these LEDs with their Android devices, thanks to a hub that helps to interconnect Wi-Fi devices with the new networking protocol.
And as the article points out, it isn't exactly a new idea to control your home from a smart device; in fact, I wrote about it in our post Control your lights with the iPhone (which mentions the Z-Wave protocol). But what will make the Android solution unique is that it will be fully open to developers creating apps to help homeowners use android connected devices in their home. Just imagine if it had the impact on home energy conservation that the iPod had on listening to music.
And once Google ties in its efforts in home energy conservation (like with the PowerMeter) with the ability to control appliances (with Android@Home), we may be seeing a fundamental shift in how people use and control energy at home!
Honeywell Wind Turbine and Earthtronics
It has been almost 2 years since I first wrote about the Honeywell Wind Turbine, but I finally got to see it in person. It was released for sale last month. While I knew it was six feet in diameter, I was still surprised by its size. There is a lot of talk about how this turbine can start generating power in speeds lower than what other turbines can, and it's true, but the power is a very tiny amount. This article that appeared on Jetson Green has some good comments addressing that fact. I think it's a cool product, but I need to do more analysis on the power production figures to see if it makes sense for homeowners to consider a wind turbine, or if solar is still the better option.
I took the photo below of the turbine with a man standing next to it to give you an idea of scale. The man was about 6'4" and the turbine was standing on a platform that may have been a foot high. They had a fan blowing on it to show it turning:
Lutron Solar Shades
Lutron had a nice lighting exhibit, but what I thought was really cool was their Hyperion solar shades that can automatically adjust themselves. You can check out the Mapawatt post on Solar Shades here. From the Lutron website:
Hyperion is an automated shading system that adjusts Sivoia® QS shades throughout the day based on the sun’s position. The shades reduce glare and solar heat gain in the space, creating a comfortable and productive work or learning environment. Hyperion maximizes the amount of available daylight entering a space, enhancing the energy saving potential of daylight harvesting lighting systems, and can also reduce energy costs associated with HVAC systems.
The information they had in their exhibit said the solar shades could reduce the cooling load by 10-30% in an office space!
More product information and my final thoughts in part 2!