Batteries not required: Wireless sensors promote building efficiencies

ECO 100 power generator and PTM 230 transmitte...

EnOcean's Eco 100 power generator and transmitter. Image via Wikipedia

Wired’s Gadget Lab is reporting on a clever wireless energy sensor developed by EnOcean that can help manage energy efficiencies (and cut costs) in commercial buildings.

EnOcean is a spinoff of Siemens focused on making energy harvesting wireless sensors and transmitters. These devices harvest energy from the mechanical movement of light switches, swipe card readers, and door handles, or use the Peltier effect to extract energy from the temperature difference between surfaces, to power tiny transmitters. These transmitters can communicate on TCP/IP networks allowing for whole-building control.

“Most buildings today are dumb,” says EnOcean Chairman Graham Martin, “meaning they completely lack automation systems to manage energy use.” With EnOcean’s easy-to-install switches and thermostats in place, any internet-enabled device can communicate with the sensors to turn down the heat or shut off lights. And since the whole system is wireless, there’s no need to rip holes in walls to install automation systems.

While currently focused on commercial uses, EnOcean has its sights on more mainstream applications, such as homes. You can read more about how their technology works on their website.

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