So, you have just successfully installed a new Vue in your home. Or maybe you are still learning more. Either way: Welcome to Emporia Energy! Our platform provides you with a clear view of your home’s energy, probably unlike anything you have seen before. No longer will you wait until billing from your utility to see energy consumption. Instead, you will move from a world of a mere 12 data points per year to second-by-second feedback as measured by your hardware and seen through the Emporia app. You will receive all this data and monitoring of your home systems in real time, wherever you have data access on your phone. Welcome to Vue!
With the hardware for our smart home energy solution already installed, you will now interact with your Vue through the Emporia home energy app. If you don’t already have the app installed, click here. Or, if you would like to purchase a Vue, click here.
Otherwise, please keep reading!
As with any new tech platform, an introduction helps us better to appreciate to how it works. This post provides that introduction and the first steps to welcome you to the Vue platform and to orient you with the app interface.
The Emporia Smart Energy Home Platform
We at Emporia Energy seek to help consumers protect home assets and to use energy more wisely and efficiently. We therefore designed our Emporia Vue platform to serve as the smart energy management nexus for connected homes. The platform comprises both hardware and software. With installed hardware, the platform connects home electricity data to cloud-based logic built to monitor major appliances and to deliver savings. Think of your Vue as an IoT device geared towards your in-home energy assets!
Together, hardware and software components deliver energy data and customized recommendations to mobile devices via Emporia’s app. In the process, the Vue puts consumers in control by providing secure information related to:
- Real-time energy use, costs, and soon: fuel mix on the grid
- Controllable, customized notifications
- Tailored, savings-driven recommendations for how to achieve up to 50% energy savings
Lasting Value in the Face of Change
Because of its customized format, the Emporia Vue delivers value to consumers regardless of their location, energy provider, status as a property owner or renter, or current level of home automation. Further, Emporia’s Vue anticipates continued significant change in the energy landscape and commits to acting in the consumer’s interest as these changes take increasing hold in the marketplace.
Emporia provides options for hardware to access your real-time electricity data: one available now, the other available soon. Currently, Emporia offers hardware to install behind your home’s main breaker box. This solution provides the highest-grade data and allows an upgrade to monitor individual circuits. In most cases, users are best served by this behind-the-panel solution that directly measures electrical current from your main electrical panel. Data from the Vue hardware device then passes through Wi-Fi and ultimately provides up-to-the-second data on your phone.
As soon as late summer 2019, Emporia intends also to offer wireless connection to a smart (“AMI”) meter. In some ways a less versatile solution, this second choice nevertheless will provide value for those in certain, more limited markets.
Emporia’s Two Solutions
Installed Behind the Breaker Panel
The behind-the-panel Vue relies upon a CT-based transmitter to send data through Wi-Fi to cloud services. Interestingly, this device may be used even in the so-called ZigBee markets described below. Consequently, we consider this hardware configuration to be “universal.” It is also a great choice for those who may wish to avoid working through a utility to gain data access. That said, like all other analog solutions described here (in Method #2), it does require installation behind the breaker panel.
The illustration below depicts this installation. Although Emporia provides detailed instructions for homeowners to complete their own installation, many users opt to use a qualified electrician.
Plugged into a Wall Socket
In the near future, and only in certain markets, Emporia will offer a second solution, involving somewhat lower-touch installation. Where utilities allow ZigBee wireless AMI connectivity, Emporia will provide hardware to pass utility data through Wi-Fi to cloud services. By our best estimation, this option will work for somewhere between 20 and 40 million consumers in the US. Depicted below, this solution delivers relative ease of physical installation, but does require interfacing with the utility for on-boarding. It also delivers less granular data than CT-based “universal” hardware.
Benefit to Consumers
Recall that hardware only represents one part of Emporia’s platform. As the other component, software provides the real value-add to consumers. In brief, Emporia’s app is powerful, easy to use, and attractive. Further, it monitors major appliances and recommends how best to save money and resources. To meet this objective, Emporia evaluates not only demand-side usage, but also will consider supply-side costs and sources for energy. No other system evaluates both sides of the energy equation. No other system provides this level of insight to consumers. All in the interest of protecting consumer assets, saving consumers money, and helping them reduce carbon output.
The Emporia App
As stated, hardware only represents one part of the Vue platform. In fact, following installation and on-boarding, most consumers will interact with the hardware only rarely. Rather, the Emporia app provides the true welcome interface to the Vue platform.
If You Still Need to Buy a Vue…
Pardon the brief plug here! But for those yet to upgrade their homes, Emporia offers three easy steps for consumers to protect major home appliances and gain control of their energy spending:
Now let’s learn about the Emporia app!
The Home Screen
Opening the Emporia energy app takes you immediately to the Home screen. Welcome to your first Vue of actual, real-time power data. Although the Vue smart home energy solution reports data continuously, your app updates on an interval of a few seconds. This interval allows for smoother reporting through the cloud interface. Therefore, you will note a slight lag (usually of less than two seconds) between what occurs in your home and what you view on your app.
Units and Time Scales
You will also note that the home energy app defaults to reporting usage in dollars. These units can be changed by clicking on the ellipsis (the three dots on the right edge of the upper green bar labeled “Historical Usage in…”). For more information on the units available, please click here.
The increment for the time scale shown on the home page can also be changed by clicking on the magnifying glasses located at the bottom-right side of the graph. Upon opening the app, the increment defaults to Now, which provides a view of about four minutes of real-time data. By clicking on the “–” magnifying glass, you may toggle to less detailed time scales. These scales appear in the following order: Minute, 15-minute, Hour, Day, Week, Month, and Year. Clicking on the “+” magnifier takes you to more detailed time scales in the order Month, Week, Day, Hour, 15-minute, Minute, and Now.
The figure below shows the location for fields discussed so far.
Your First Experiments!
Better to welcome you and to demonstrate the abilities of your Vue, it helps to conduct some simple experiments!
Experiment #1: Large Power Usage
Please open your app to the Home screen, which should default to the Now time increment. Please select Watts from the unit selection using the ellipsis as described above.
Choose from one of the following appliances you may have in your home:
- a microwave oven
- a hair dryer
- an electric oven
- an electric clothes dryer
Turn your appliance of choice ON for 30 to 60 seconds. Within several seconds, you should see a spike response on your app screen. In some cases, the larger appliances (the electric oven or clothes dryer) may take longer for heating coils to draw power. If this is the case for you, please allow the appliance to remain ON for a minute or so longer until you see a response on your app.
The figure below demonstrates running a microwave for a full minute. You will note the baseline of about 1.88 kW (or 1880 Watts) prior to turning the oven ON at 9:20:33 PM. Once ON, the oven produces a steep rise of approximately 1825 W on the graph. This rise is followed by a one-minute saw-tooth plateau at about 3705 W while the oven runs. The graph then returns to the 1825 W baseline once the oven shuts OFF.
You should now be convinced that your Vue works well for picking up a relatively large power draw on the order of 1800 W.
Experiment #2: Small Power Usage
To welcome you further to the capabilities of your Vue, let’s now experiment with a significantly smaller power draw. For example, you could try a single closet light — even if it is an energy-efficient LED.
For the experiment, open your Emporia home energy app and give it several seconds to account for any data lag. Hopefully, you will note a stable, flat baseline while viewing in the Now time increment. If you do not see such a stable baseline, you will have trouble conducting this experiment. You can either wait for stability or try turning off appliances that may contribute to the unstable baseline (such as your furnace, A/C, dishwasher, clothes dryer, etc.).
With a stable baseline, try turning ON a single light bulb for about 10 seconds. You should see a moderate increase that corresponds to the lit bulb as well as a return to baseline following shutting the bulb OFF.
Perhaps now you are thinking we should have provided a spoiler alert when presenting the first figure above! In fact, careful inspection of that figure shows where twice the user turned lighting ON: first when entering the kitchen just before 9:19 PM and then when opening the microwave door at 9:20:25. The first lighting accounted for about 200 W of power while the second for more like 20 W. Also note that, as with the microwave oven, the power draw returns to the relevant baseline after the lights are extinguished. This symmetry presents an ideal case of separating signals for various appliances.
The figure below provides a summary of the Vue response for the use case presented above.
You should now be convinced that your Vue works well for picking up even relatively small power draws as low as 20 W. In fact, though not shown in this example, the Vue is capable of resolving power loads as small as 8 W, provided the baseline remains quiet!
Panning and Scale
Now that we have “stepped across the Welcome mat” for the app’s Home screen, we can now look to other functionality available with your Vue . Specifically, let’s look at panning (the ability to look at historical data points) and the variable scale of the graph while panning.
Panning Through Time
Recall that simple “x-y” graphs have two axes: the horizontal (or x-axis) and the vertical (or y-axis). On the Emporia app, the x-axis represents time. Therefore, “panning” simply involves scrolling horizontally along the x-axis. Panning to the left moves us towards data further back in time. In a similar manner, panning to the right moves us forward in time towards the present. (Unfortunately, Emporia does not offer scrolling into the future!).
Note that actual clock time appears in the “time” box at the upper far right corner of the graph only when the user has panned fully to the right. Otherwise, the app displays the time value for data displayed in the light blue box immediately above. When clock time is shown, this box is labeled “CURRENT.” The figure below provides a visual assist for this concept. (Pro Tip: tap on the Current box whenever you wish to return to actual current time!)
Scaling for Usage
In the same manner that the x-axis represents time in the Emporia home energy app Home page, the y-axis represents usage. The app displays this usage in the units of choice selected by the user: Dollars, Watts, Gal of Gas, Car Miles, Carbon, or Trees. As a reminder, we provide more detailed information on these units here.
In contrast to x-axis panning, however, the user does not control the values shown along the y-axis. Rather, the range (or “scale”) of these values is set by the data displayed on the screen. In other words, the home energy app automatically scales the y-axis so as best to fit the data it needs to show. Consequently, the user should remain aware that the y-axis scale may jump somewhat dramatically while panning back in time. Please further recall that the y-axis value for the time displayed in the “time” box is always displayed in the “current” box (as shown in the preceding figure).
Conclusion and Next Steps
Summary of Your Work So Far
Congratulations on completing your first experiments with your new tech: the Emporia smart home energy solution! And again, Welcome to Vue!
You should now be convinced of the following:
- The sensitivity of your Vue to both large and small usage
- The repeatable nature for patterns from certain appliances
- The existence of baseline values
- The variable nature of baseline values
- The ease of use and versatility of the Emporia app!
For You: Fun Detective Work
Following your welcome to the platform, we now encourage you to start running your own experiments with the Vue smart home energy solution.
- How many major appliances can you identify by their energy signature?
- What significant usages prove more elusive?
- How much money do you spend running various appliances?
- What are your most significant household energy uses over time?
- What is your average baseline?
- Can you reduce your energy use by using LED bulbs?
- What kind of vampire loads exist on your system?
- Can you reduce your baseline by removing vampire loads?
- How much money can you save?
- By how much can you reduce your climate impact?
You may even identify some unexpected special cases for monitoring what occurs in your home. For example, one of our developers noticed a pattern that coincided with a video game being played at the home where he was working. Specifically, he could hear audio from the video game indicating a player “deaths.” Since these deaths corresponded to a decrease in electricity usage from the graphical processing unit (GPU) on the console, they were picked up by the Vue. As seen below, each death was marked by a short 100-W dip while the GPU enjoyed a short respite!
For Emporia: Fun Development Work!
Even while we welcome new users to the Vue platform, Emporia is already working diligently on writing the code and algorithms to address the questions above. Further, we are looking to deliver the answers on your app in a way that keeps you informed about the status of your home — and automates alerts to you. In this manner, Emporia makes your home a Smart Energy Home and helps you protect your most important resources.
Please feel free to provide us with feedback and ideas! Welcome — and enjoy the Vue!
Prepare for the Energy Transition!
From AMI to ZigBee, from clean energy to storage, from decarbonization to electric vehicles, the energy landscape is changing rapidly. And smart consumers are beginning to prepare now. We at Emporia seek to partner with you during this latest US energy transition. The goal is better to monitor and assure efficient operation of the energy assets in our homes, from appliances to HVAC systems. Since you cannot manage what you cannot measure, installing the Vue represents the necessary first step in your journey. Along the way, Emporia pledges to provide insight, savings, and exceptional value. We are a young company, eager to share what we have developed so far! We are further motivated to receive feedback on what we have already built.
As discussed above, if you are not already using Emporia’s resources, you can do so in the three easy steps below!
Step 1: Try Emporia’s Software
Download Emporia’s app on either the App Store or Google Play. Any user can sample a demo version of this app and provide feedback. But the app becomes so much more powerful when used in concert with Vue hardware! So be sure to complete the second step below, either before or after downloading the Emporia app.
Step 2: Purchase Emporia Vue Hardware
Installed inside your home’s main breaker box, the Vue works in any market. Though homeowners can often complete this installation in 15-20 minutes, Emporia nonetheless recommends hiring a qualified electrician. However, as a reward for installation, the Vue delivers highly granular, real-time data as well as the ability to monitor individual circuits.
Click here to choose your Vue!
Step 3: Reap the Rewards of Success
Simply put, with its smart energy platform, Emporia seeks to put consumers in control of their energy data. By viewing this data in real time, consumers can expect to save between 3% and 13% through awareness and simple conservation. However, Emporia has established the bold goal of saving consumers up to 50% on energy spending over time. Consumers will achieve this level of savings through a combination of app-recommended strategies that will compound over time. Better yet, these opportunities for savings will only increase as utilities proceed further into the renewable-energy transition.
A Final Word
Emporia Energy is proud of the work accomplished thus far. However, we appreciate that the road is long — and that work towards our goal of protecting value for energy consumers will never be done. For this reason, we pledge always to seek better to understand those using our platform. And always to improve it for their benefit. We therefore welcome you to provide ideas and critique of our progress to date with our Vue platform!
Thank you kindly!