This article is posted here with the consent of the author. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position, view, or opinion of Crestron Electronics, Inc., or of any of its employees. Crestron Electronics is not responsible for, and does not verify the accuracy of, any of the information contained in this article.
Author: Josh Oebel
The home energy space is growing rapidly as more homeowners become conscious of the environmental and economic impacts of energy use and conservation. In addition, people are looking for more security with their energy, as many have experienced some degree of power loss in their homes due to natural disasters, rolling blackouts, and other circumstances out of their control. As a result of these things, homeowners have embraced renewable energy resources (such as solar) and home energy storage systems. Home energy monitoring systems have grown in popularity as well, which provide energy use data. While these products have flooded into the market, they have generally remained as standalone systems with little or no connection to the rest of the home and do not provide much in the way of actions to address energy consumption. Home automation and its ability to control environmental systems such as lighting, HVAC, shades, and the like has tremendous potential to aid consumers in energy conservation and management. But these two industries — home energy and home automation — have generally remained a world apart.
Home Energy Management
All of the aforementioned options have left consumers with partial solutions. They end up with multiple, disparate systems and few ways to manage and optimize their home energy. Solar and other renewable energy sources provide relief from grid energy usage and diminish a home’s carbon footprint, while energy storage systems provide ways to reserve energy for use during peak energy demand times and grid power outages. Energy monitoring systems deliver energy use data to inform homeowners, and home automation systems consolidate control of energy consuming devices in the home. So, how much could all these systems work together to optimize energy in the home? For one Crestron developer, the answer was simply, “a whole lot!”
Enter Troy Morgan, CEO of PanTech Design. As founder and head of a veteran Crestron Service Provider firm, Troy and his team were very familiar with home automation. Their introduction to the energy space came recently in the form of Blake Richetta, CEO of sonnen, Inc. Richetta approached Morgan and his team about developing software to allow sonnen’s intelligent home batteries to communicate with Crestron systems. As Morgan and his team dug further into the energy space, the possibilities became apparent. “We saw the potential and how we could solve shortcomings of home energy systems and leverage the power of home automation to optimize these energy solutions,” Morgan says. So his team went to work, developing software designed around energy management and hardware that could directly control circuit breakers in the home. “We were doing all these things with lights, shades, and climate, but I thought about all these other energy consumers like water heaters and pool pumps — the list goes on. So I said, ‘What if we could literally control the power going to these devices?’”
The result of PanTech Design’s efforts became a system called Adapt Energy. It is a combination of an engineered hardware panel that can directly control circuit breakers and a software application that runs on a Crestron DIN-AP4 processor built into the Adapt Energy hardware panel. The software provides home energy management features such as automated circuit breaker control, energy monitoring, grid loss detection, severe weather alerts, and custom energy management. And, of course, it pairs nicely with Crestron control systems. “Of course, we went down that path,” Morgan notes. “We are Crestron developers. But more than that, it seemed to be the obvious solution to bring home automation and energy together. Home automation was the answer to truly optimizing these home energy systems.”
The Future Home
Take Morgan’s home, for example. Troy Morgan has built his home with a complete Crestron control system, solar panels, a sonnen ecoLinx battery, and his company’s own Adapt Energy system. “It’s like a symphony when the grid power goes out,” Morgan explains. “I get a text message about the power outage and then the circuit breakers shut down for non-essential systems to conserve battery power, the battery takes over powering the house and tells me how long it can do so, and Adapt Energy tells my Crestron system to lower shades, dim lights, and turn off my audio/video systems. And all this happens in seconds.” But there’s more to it, as Morgan can go into his app and turn things back on at will. All of this is just scratching the surface of what the system can do. “It’s really incredible what we’ve accomplished and I really believe that my home is the model for how homes will function in the future.”
The future is not that far off, it seems, because Morgan’s residence isn’t the only home of its kind. Adapt Energy has been installed in homes all over the country, creating a whole new class of energy automated homes. Up to this point, though, integrating Adapt Energy with a Crestron control system has been achieved through custom SIMPL Windows programming, typically handled by PanTech Design. “We have SIMPL modules available for Adapt Energy, but we really wanted to make this technology as accessible as possible for Crestron Technology Partners,” Morgan remarks. So, Troy’s team worked closely with Crestron to adapt their solution for Crestron Home™ platform. “Now, Adapt Energy is part of the Crestron Home ecosystem, and we couldn’t be more pleased about this partnership.”
John Clancy, Executive Vice President of Residential for Crestron, adds, “Home energy management is a growing market and represents tremendous value to homeowners. We believe it is a natural fit for the custom integration space. We are very excited about bringing energy management into the Crestron Home ecosystem, and Adapt Energy is the ideal solution. Designed by our long-time partners at PanTech Design, it provides a wealth of capabilities for Crestron Home systems and new opportunities for our Crestron Technology Partners.”
Clancy and Morgan will be appearing together on a live stream on November 11 to talk about this partnership and demonstrate the Adapt Energy integration with Crestron Home. If you want to be part of this new era of intelligent energy homes, visit PanTech Design’s website and click on Energy Automation to learn more and join the live stream event.
For more information visit pantechdesign.com/adaptenergy