The Fibaro central controller has advanced energy monitoring and conservation features. The system enables the power consumption of devices to be measured, recorded and displayed in an easy to understand format. Wasteful energy use can be identified and the system set up to reduce it, for example by automatically switching off unnecessary appliances when you leave the house. Heating and lighting account for over 80% of energy use in many homes; with the right controls your home can be in sync with your lifestyle and savings can be made. Let's start by taking a look at heating and hot water...
Heating & hot water
Research by the Salford University has shown savings of over 30% are possible by using thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) to control rooms separately and "zone your home". We have programmable and wireless TRVs which enable both time and temperature to be set. The wireless versions communicate with the central controller and their schedules and temperature settings can be changed from your tablet or smartphone.
For your main living or circulation area a wall mounted thermostat or temperature sensor is the most accurate solution. Our thermostats have a unique software algorithm which means that they control the firing of your boiler to ensure it is operating in its condensing mode for as long as possible, maximising efficiency. The thermostats directly control the boiler relay units. These are positioned by your boiler and may just be a plug in replacement for your old programmer, They use industry standard wall plates to ensure retrofit compatibility with many manufacturers units. The thermostats and relay units also communicate with the central controller, enabling the heating to be controlled from a set schedule or over-ridden by commands from tablet or smartphone. The image below shows the Horstmann HRT4-ZW wireless thermostat with single channel boiler relay, ideal as your main thermostat or for controlling a particular zone.
Relay units are available in one and two channel versions for use with both combi and system boilers.
If you need help identifying your type of boiler or help on controls selection then please contact us for advice.
It is also possible to use door & window sensors to detect open windows and automatically switch off the heating in that zone.
If you use your gas or oil boiler to heat a stored hot water tank then there are times when it might be beneficial to use your electric immersion heater to boost the water temperature in the tank rather than using your boiler. In which case our wireless 3kW Immersion Boost timer will enable you to get an extra hour or so of water heating without having to delve into the airing cupboard to find the immersion heater switch.
There are many opportunities for upgrading home lighting at the moment, not least the movement towards LED light sources. In addition to replacement for halogen and tungsten lamps, the introduction of LED strip means it is possible to be much more creative with light. See our Lifestyle and convenience page for some great ideas. With regard to energy saving, apart from upgrading to LED the two key areas for saving are dimming and switching lights off when you don't need them. The Fibaro dimmer and switch modules can easily be fitted in many standard wall boxes and enable existing switches to be upgraded to remote/scene control. The dimmer module requires no neutral connection and therefore is suitable for many UK installations.
With the central controller "rules" can be set so that lighting is controlled in different ways at different times of the day. Also lights on completely different circuits can be controlled together or separately depending on the situation. Some examples of energy saving scenarios are as follows:
- Outside lights or hall lights are dimmed until movement is detected by the motion sensor, which brings them up to full brightness.
- Security lights are programmed to come on from dusk to say 11.00 pm and then controlled manually by a switch.
- The hallway light switch normally just controls the hall. However it can be programmed so that a quick "double click" will switch all the lights off in the house or perhaps just downstairs if you are going out or up to bed.
- Dimming of lights to 80%, it is not possible for the human eye to detect that a light has dimmed until it decreases to 80% of power output, therefore lights can be set to only work up to 80% and hence save up to 20% of energy use.
- Using a door/window sensor to switch lights on when a cupboard door is opened, for example if you have a pantry or hall cupbard. The light will go back off when the door is closed, apart from the energy saving this can also be very convenient if you have your hands full and cannot reach for the light switch.
Integration with renewables
If you have PV or solar hot water, we have a range of sensors that can monitor temperature and energy and other attributes in order to optimise the use of these energy sources. For example if the output of the PV can be metered and if it is sufficient then the immersion heater can be switched on so that the house can take advantage of the free energy. If you have particular specific requirements then special software scripts can be written to ensure the best use is made of your renewables investment.
Please see the following pages for more inspiration:
also take a look at some of our projects in our blog.