Eco-Alert: The Innovative New All in One Energy Saving Device
by: Rachel Poppert and Andrew Hunter
Most homes use non-renewable resources, such as coal, as sources of energy. At the present time, such use is still necessary. However, by using energy more efficiently, homeowners can reduce the amount of non-renewable resources needed to power their homes. Our device will help them to do so by letting them know when they are using energy wastefully.
This reducing of energy waste will not only assist with the conservation of nonrenewable resources but will also save homeowners a tremendous amount of money on their utility bills. (Martin)
Both of these benefits provided by our device will motivate homeowners to be more conscious of their environmental impacts.
Methods and Design
Academic Search Complete will be used to find literature. The search will be conducted using the terms “energy”, “conservation”, and “homeowners”. The articles found will assist with determining homeowners’ current environmental impacts and attitudes. The device itself will consist of a Raspberry Pi microcontroller with the Sensehat attachment. All code for the various functions of the device will be created using Matlab version 2017b.
Current recommendations suggest that homeowners turn electric devices off when not in use. However, it is often difficult for homeowners to remember to turn devices off. It is also recommended that homeowners keep thermostats set to certain temperatures, since heating and air conditioning consume more energy than any other devices in homes. Following such guidelines may prove challenging, though, because homeowners may also forget to turn heating or air conditioning off when they leave home, or in homes in which two or more people reside, it is always possible that one person may change the thermostat temperature to an inappropriate setting without the other person's knowledge or agreement. Finally, it is crucial that homeowners conserve water, as well. Unfortunately, water leaks can be challenging to identify and thus may go undetected.
The purpose of our project is to create a device which will alert homeowners to fans left running, thermostats set to inappropriate temperatures, and water leaks in the home. The device will also have a password so that only the homeowner can access the thermostat and related information. Energy use data will be graphed month by month so that homeowners can see areas in which they are using energy efficiently and areas in which they could improve energy use as well as the amount of money they are saving or spending.
The device will be affordable and relatively easy for homeowners to use. However, the device uses a motion sensor to determine if a fan has been left on. It is possible, therefore, that pets or other unforeseen objects or beings could cause the sensor to pick up a false reading. Additionally, the sensor for water leaks should not be placed in a bathroom, where the sensor may falsely alert to a water leak when steam from showers is the actual culprit.
The uses for the device could, of course, be extended to detection of other instances of homeowner energy waste. Uses for the device in public and manufacturing settings could also be further explored.
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