Local innovation can cut energy use

Ian Kitajima
Ian Kitajima
Dawn Lippert
Dawn Lippert

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

KANEOHE (HawaiiNewsNow) – Two Hawaii based firms, Oceanit and Concentris Systems, have collaborated on wireless technology to let home owners know how much electricity they are using, what devices are using electricity, and how much each device is using. Knowing how much power is being used, enables people to make informed decisions about what they want turned on and what they should turn off.

"We're hoping that home owners can save anywhere from ten to 30 percent of their energy by being more aware of what it is they are using," said Dawn Lippert, Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture which provided funding to develop the system.

The system, called Meshed Intelligent System for Energy Use Reduction (eMISER), begins with something called a Smart Socket developed by Oceanit.

"These actually are devices that get plugged right into your (wall) socket. They are wireless. They communicate to one another. And you plug your other devices in it. And once you do that the system will actually detect how much energy usage is coming from each device," said Ian Kitajima of Oceanit.

Information about consumption is uplinked to the Internet via technology developed by Concentris Systems. People can access data about their consumption on their computer or smart phone. And the wireless connection works both ways. For example, if you left home with the iron on, you could turn it off from your phone.

"You can look into the system, see that it is on, and with the tap of your finger (on your phone or lap top) turn that device off," Kitajima added.

Individual home owners could benefit from eMISER, but it was designed for entire neighborhoods and communal living situations including college dorms. With eMISER it is easy to see who is wasting power and how.

A housing complex on Marine Corps Base Hawaii has installed eMISER in some of its new homes. The system will be tested for three months. Then the Corps will decide if it wants to install the system permanently.

"So this system is really designed to help home owners and communities save energy and better understand their homes' and their families' energy use and keep their cost down," Lippert added.

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