When it comes to energy management, smart thermostats are good for controlling temperature in one or two zones of the house, but how do you manage energy in each individual room without expensive motorized dampers? These new smart vents might be the next big thing for smart home everywhere!
EcoNet Controls , a division of ICI Controls Inc., has introduced the Z-Wave-controllable Z-Vent (EV100) HVAC registers that enable users to remotely control the amount of air that gets vented into any room of the house.
The units, available in various sizes and colors, could be controlled through virtually any Z-Wave-enabled home automation system, but out of the gate it can be used with the VeraLite controller from Mi Casa Verde. The controller offers a simple start-up configuration and pre-programmed smart-vent scenes.
Users can control the vents directly through (for example) a smart phone, or program scenes in which the vents automatically adjust based on occupancy, vacancy, schedules or whole-house scenes such as “party” mode.
We first wrote about the “smart vent” category in June, when Keen Home launched a similar product on Indiegogo. The company reached its goal of $40,000 in funding.
Shortly thereafter, I received an email from another inventor who was working on an even more advanced smart-vent solution based on ZigBee. He wrote:
The Keen is a great idea but only controls rooms not used and doesn’t solve where many rooms are not well balanced. To go to the next level you need to do all the zones and have the HVAC controlled by the system. Also closing too many vents can damage the system.
As for EcoNet, the registers are powered by two AAA batteries and cost $95 each.
Feedback is provided for open/closed status, malfunctions and battery level.