Smart Home Concept

I intend to construct a Smart Home System to save people money on their electricity bill through a low price, high efficiency, open source electronics kit that anyone can install in their homes. This project is an expansion of my Undergraduate Senior design project, which was called HIPEE. One of my aims for this project is that it should be self powered and self sustaining as much as possible. This is to reduce the energy footprint of the system, while trying to save the customer money on their energy bill.

The system is broken down into three major components:
  1. Fire Prevention
  2. Energy Efficiency
  3. Home Security

For smart lighting, there are plenty of devices available on the market today that provide smart lighting based on occupancy detection. That feature is now standard on these devices, and is expected in future devices. My system will have many more features in addition to the standard occupancy detection. For example, if a person enters a room and its night outside, by default, the lights would turn on automatically. 

For smart HVAC, zoning would be the preferred method to manage and mitigate the energy bill for a home. While there are a few commercially avaiable products that provide this service, most are large scale industrial products, and any small scale products are out of the price range of most home owners. My system intends to provide this component for a low price, as well as at maximum efficiency with the rest of the smart home. For example, say it is warm outside with low humidity, and you walk in a room, the fan in that room would turn on by default, with the HVAC in stand-by mode. Likewise, if the temperature is cold outside, the fan would not turn on, but instead the heater would adjust so that the one room the person is in would get the heat of the heater in such a way as to warm the room but not apply direct heat on the person in the room (this is zoning).

For a combination of both systems: If a person was to leave the room, the lights, the fan and the HVAC would turn off automatically.

For energy consumption, there are several energy sources that would be monitored 24/7 to give a complete report on energy consumption on a daily, weekly or monthly basis with a room by room breakdown of the consumption. These energy sources are the three basic utilities that most people use in a home: electricity, water and natural gas. My system provides a monitoring platform to integrate with new or already existing homes to give users a way of knowing how much they are consuming, an estimate of how much they will be paying and a method of curbing their usage both economically and practically.

While, there are plenty of devices that are out on the market, and have yet to be released as full products, as in the case of the Safe Plug, by John La Grou, there are very few available systems that monitor at the point where it really matters to the home owner: the breaker box. Energy coming into or flowing out of the house has to go through this device. What better place to monitor that electricity consumption than there? Similarly the same does apply to gas and water. However, water only has a main pipe going into the house. The "breaker" for the water line is usually embedded in the concrete foundation for most homes in the south, while homes in the north have it available in the basement. This is primarily a user preference where they would want the sensors installed, and how much sensor detail they want in their analysis.

The other two components are self-explanatory: fire prevention and home security. These are optional and of lesser priority of the three components offered.
Keeping in line with the idea of saving energy and trying to keep the system as cheap as possible, each module has its own rechargeable backup battery in case the power goes out. Most of the system has some kind of land-line power supply going to it, while outdoor sensors all have sustainable power supplies such as wind, solar or a combination of both. 

Over the years, we have noticed our energy consumption going up for "no apparent reason", with our bills going up exponentially as well. This system provides a way to lower that useless energy consumption and lower energy bills to a more manageable state.

As it stands today, the full scale prototype is out of my budget constraints.  Thus, Ive decided to construct a 1/3 scale prototype to demonstrate the functionality and viability of such a system, with the intent to develop a company around this system. The end goal is for people to have not just an Eco-friendly home made out of energy efficient and earth friendly materials, but to have a fully LEED certified Green home.

Any updates posted on this website are intended for educational use only, and are portions of the project I have deemed 'Open Source' and not proprietary. I doubt I will be posting full code or board layouts to the public, but I may post schematics of certain portions of the system. This will be based on my discretion.

Current Status of Development:

Design: 85%
Construction: 35%
Testing: 10%


  1. I like your idea of focusing the home's energy usage only to the room that is being used. But perhaps there would be a loss of efficiency due to relative temperature differences throughout the house. If only the room you are in is getting heat, then wouldn't even more of the heat in that room escape to the colder, unheated parts of the house than if the entire house were heated? I suppose this problem could be greatly diminished by superior insulation and closing the door to the room you are in.

    Either way, your idea definitely save quite a bit of energy.

  2. Well Im assuming that there is a temperature gradient throughout the house. So some parts of the house warm and cool differently than others. Thats where my system comes into play. Instead of running the system all at once, just run it minimally to supply heating or cooling to only the parts that need it so that the average temperature of the whole house is close to the number you set.