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Show Us Your Great Looking Racks 2015: Open for EntriesBoatload of Home Automation in Three-Acre Oceanfront PropertyWhat's That Smell? Leviton light switches, occupancy sensors, hotel card readers, and other energy-saving RF devices are powered by kinetic energy -- no batteries required. Leviton LevNet devices, using technology from Enocean, can save energy and hassles in MDUs including hotels and dorms. It’s easy enough to update a multi-dwelling unit (MDU) with energy-saving automation if the devices require no new wires. Even button-less LevNet products have ways of harnessing energy without the use of batteries.
Occupancy sensors, for example, are powered by the slightest changes in energy states, for example, the rise and fall of the temperature or ambient light. The magic is not just in the energy-harvesting technology but in the structure of the RF communications. Two-way mesh-networking solutions such as Z-Wave (which Leviton supports in different lines) and ZigBee may be lightweight compared to WiFi, for example, but they require too much energy to operate without wires or batteries. The same is true for standard security sensors which are always listening for activity on the network.
On the other hand, LevNet switches and other devices are not constantly at the ready, waiting for instructions from a sensor or controller.
When a user enters the room, he hits the light switch, generating the energy to power the radio transmitter.
In addition to the occupancy sensors, wireless light sensors are available, powering themselves with built-in solar cells that draw on available ambient light. Other products in the LevNet line include thermostats, handheld controllers and the latest introduction: motorized shade controllers. Hendler explains that the complete line is ideal for MDUs, including hotels and dorm rooms, where residents tend not to care about energy usage.
Most notably, the European-style card holders in the LevNet line make perfect sense for these venues.
Typical LevNet scenario: wireless, kinetic-powered hotel key card sets lights and temperature to comfortable settings when the room is occupied, and energy-saving levels when unoccupied. The Wireless Self-Powered Hotel Key Card Holder is designed to create energy saving solutions for the hospitality industry. Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications.
Phasing out energy-guzzling incandescent lighting for efficient alternatives could save the U.S. Energy-efficient lighting also carries the potential to save $5.5 billion a year in China, where energy use from lighting accounts for roughly 12 percent of electricity consumption.
At a time when energy use in expected to soar in coming years, lighting represents an attractive piece of low-hanging fruit, while also offering the potential for generating billions of dollars in savings and reducing the world’s hefty carbon footprint. Steven Wilson here, long time energy efficient lighting wholesaler to businesses, contractors, government facilities, etc.
As the afternoon sun streams into a once abandoned warehouse in South Boston, the buildinga€™s interior walls begin to melt. Melting one pound of ice takes 144 times more energy than raising the temperature of one pound of water 1Es F. The solution, Kosny says, are phase-change materials, also known as PCMsa€”things that change between solid, liquid, or vapor depending on their temperature. The incredible energy density of PCMs is a result of something known as the heat of fusion.
In recent years, research on PCMs has moved beyond water and ice to a vast number of new materials with a wide array of melting temperatures and applications. Kosny oversaw installation of the encapsulated wax at Fraunhofera€™s new South Boston location as part of a comprehensive energy efficiency retrofit before moving into the converted warehouse earlier this year. When the sun sets and the building cools, the wax in the walls radiates heat as it slowly solidifies, ready to absorb heat the following day.
Kosny first started looking at phase-change materials as a way to store heat from the sun as a PhD student in Poland in the early 1980s. In a tour of his lab, Kosny shows me thick gels ensconced in what looks like bubble wrapa€”macroencapsulated PCMs, some of which are soft to the touch while others remain frozen solid at room temperature. In walls around the Kosnya€™s lab, Fraunhofer uses a slightly different building material, a microencapsulated PCM surrounded by shape stabilizing polymers and sealed with aluminum foil to aide thermal conductivity. The building, one of only about two dozen nationwide to incorporate PCMs into its physical structure, uses the material sparingly as part of a showcase of advanced building materials that reduce heating and cooling requirements.

But when liberally applied to a buildinga€™s rooftop, Kosny has demonstrated that phase-change materials can reduce a roofa€™s peak hour thermal loada€”the amount of heat conducted into the building during the hottest part of the daya€”by 95%. When it comes to reducing peak energy demand and keeping buildings cool, there may be an even simpler solution: ice. Running chillers at night saves money because electricity is dramatically less expensive thena€”roughly 70% cheaper than during peak daytime hours, MacCracken says.
Freezing ice the night before ita€™s needed also allows building managers to use smaller, less expensive chillers than would normally be required of a conventional air conditioning system, which has to provide all the cooling at the time it’s needed.
In addition to saving money, thermal storage also offers significant savings in energy efficiency, but not where you might expect it. Even without the incentives, thermal storage is a promising option for grid operators, according to StevenA Minnihan, an analyst at Lux Research.
In addition to keeping buildings cool, phase-change materials may soon store excess solar power until it is needed.
Researchers from the German Aerospace Center recently tested what they say is the worlda€™s largest high-temperature PCM storage module in Carboneras, Spain. To charge the module, superheated steam from an adjoining coal-fired power plant is piped through a network of finned tubes that heats the sodium nitrate salt to its melting point of 581Es F. Until now, solar thermal power plants have either gone without thermal storage or relied on molten salts that remain liquid throughout their charging and discharging cycles. The International Energy Agency predicts that concentrated solar power will become cost competitive with conventional fossil fuel power as early as 2025 and, along with photovoltaic solar power, could provide up to 25% of global electricity production by 2050.
Traditional solar thermal power plants don't use phase change to store energy, but they may soon. Meanwhile, changes in electricity pricing could soon make ice blocks and melting walls much more commonplace. Until now the manufacturers of ice storage and PCM building materials have focused on large commercial applications, but if the difference between nighttime and daytime residential rates continues to widen, things could change quickly.
Funding for NOVA Next is provided by the Eleanor & Howard Morgan Family Foundation.Original funding for NOVA Next was provided by Amy and Joshua Boger. National corporate funding for NOVA is provided by Google and Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
Review our USA Quality Made Power Save 1200 for 1 year.  We want you to save energy with our energy efficient products and solutions.  If for ANY reason you want to return it for a refund, return it within 1 year and we will give you a full refund so you have NOTHING to lose! A new adapter turns Somfy RTS-enabled wireless controllers into LevNet (Enocean)-compatible devices. It makes the difference between loving your technology business and struggling through sleepless nights.
Up to 70 percent of lighting sales are made up of inefficient incandescent lamps, according to the U.N. If you’re looking for superior lighting products at exceptional value, you’ve come to the right place! Ita€™s no design flaw; embedded within the walls is a thin layer of microencapsulated paraffin wax that turns from solid to liquid as the building warms.
What makes them so desirable for use in building materials is their ability to absorb or emit massive amounts of energy while maintaining a near constant temperature.
In the case of melting ice, thermal energy is required to break hydrogen bonds between individual molecules.
Some of the new materials will help keep us cool, while others will store energy at temperatures so high they would make us melt. Ita€™s a concept that has been used for thousands of years in warm climates where stone or thick adobe walls absorb thermal energy during the daytime and release it at night. Resources in the communist country were scarce at the time, and the only material he could find to work with was beeswax. Next to the gels are samples of drywall with tiny droplets of microencapsulated phase-change materials mixed directly into the building material. In rooms at the Fraunhofer facility where PCMs are used, they cut cooling needs by 10 to 15%, Kosny says. By absorbing heat in the middle of the day and radiating it back out later, Kosny says phase-change materials can easily reduce a buildinga€™s overall cooling requirements by 25 to 30%. Some of the worlda€™s largest ice cubes can be found in the basements of Manhattan skyscrapers. Inside, however, coolant circulating through several miles of polyethylene tubing turns the water inside the tank into an eight-ton block of ice.
In effect, CALMACa€™s ice blocksa€”which belong to a class of devices industry officials call a€?thermal storagea€?a€”are simply a way to store energy, much like a giant battery, until it is needed.

MacCracken likens his system to buying ice prior to hosting a cocktail party, albeit on a much larger scale. At the building scale, ice-based air conditioning is slightly less efficient than conventional air conditioning, which doesna€™t require the freezing and melting of ice.
In June, the California Public Utilities Commission set a goal of developing 1.3 gigawatts of energy storage by the end of the decade. One form of solar power, concentrated solar, uses sunlight to generate steam that is used to produce electricity.
At 26 feet tall and filled with 15 tons of salt, the insulated, steel reinforced tower is something akin to a giant saltshaker wrapped in a large tea cozy.
By keeping the salts liquid, though, the system is not taking advantage of the efficiencies inherent in phase change. Utility companies in Texas recently began offering free electricity at night in an effort to get residential users to reduce their energy requirements during peak daytime hours. After a set amount of non-activity, the sensor signals a LevNet-enabled wired RF light switch to turn off, and the cycle begins again.
Furthermore, swapping out batteries in potentially hundreds of living units would be untenable for the maintenance crew. Inserting a Key Card provides the energy to transmit an RF signal to LevNet RF Receivers that control lights or other devices in the room. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. That’s the equivalent of removing 11 million vehicles from the road, or bypassing the need to build 26 medium-sized coal-fired plants. Collectively, they will help us use existing energy supplies more efficiently, which may ultimately keep the entire planet from overheating.
The change in phase, which sucks up the energy from a hot day, helps keep the buildinga€™s interior cool while using significantly less air conditioning than would otherwise be required. Using PCMs, however, allows for significantly thinner, lighter weight building materials better suited for todaya€™s glass and steel architecture. The larger gel packs can absorb more thermal energy but have to be covered by conventional drywall and are susceptible to leakage if punctured by screws or nails. Inside Rockefeller Center alone, dozens of massive ice blocks, each the size of a small SUV, melt and refreeze each day. During the day the system runs in reverse; the ice cools warm fluid pumped through tubes in the tank that is then used to cool the building. On a grid scale, however, the use of such thermal storage is significantly more efficient because electricity generated at night comes from base load power plants. The targeta€”equivalent to the output of a large nuclear power planta€”includes incentives for technologies like ice based thermal storage that shift the energy requirements of buildings away from periods of peak demand. To discharge the heat, operators essentially run the system in reverse, pumping water through the finned tubes to turn it back into steam, which goes on to spin the turbines that produce electricity. When entering a room, a Key Card is inserted into the switch and an RF signal is sent to the Receivers that control the loads in the room. One half inch of phase-change building materials has the thermal capacity of roughly three inches of concrete, Kosny says. His clients include leading building materials manufactures, the aerospace industry, and the U.S. From Wall Street to Times Square, space constraints and high daytime electricity prices are pushing New Yorkers to increasingly embrace one of the oldest yet most efficient forms of air conditioning to keep cool. These large, efficient plants operate continuously, as opposed to a€?peaking plantsa€? which only operate during periods of high demand and are inherently less efficient. The concentrated solar plants work well so long as the sun is shining, but they have a hard time delivering energy at night or when the clouds roll in.
The individual Receivers then communicate with their corresponding loads to close the circuit. If excess heat not needed for immediate electricity generation could be stored, it could be tapped and used at a later time.
When the user exits the room and removes the Key Card from the switch, another RF signal is sent to the Receivers to open the circuits. Department of Energya€™s Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee and now for Fraunhofer in Boston, he has assembled a library of hundreds of different phase-change materials, each with their own unique thermal properties.

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