Two of the finalists in this Thursday’s Greener Gadgets Design Competition that I’ve featured thus far — Rocco, the Energy Pal (a kinetic energy-generating rocking horse for kids made from recycled plastic) and the Automan 500 Subwoofer (a speaker cabinet/ottoman for adults made from recycled car tires) — boast a certain eco-aesthetic appeal: They're both tech-y, cool looking, and made from recycled materials. 

Today I’m highlighting an entrant, the Smart Grid Home Controller from Philadelphia-based BuLogics, that has zero design-y elements (it’s a green gadget through and through) but serves quite an impressive purpose: the seamless integration of emerging smart grid technology with wireless technology.

In a nutshell: when a home's smart meter starts to get distress signals from the local energy grid (during a summertime heat wave, for example, when hundreds of AC units are simultaneously sucking power), a signal is sent to the Smart Grid Home Controller that then shuts down select appliances and alerts you via cell phone text or e-mail though Z-Wave Area Home Area Network (HAN) technology.

Huh? Perhaps the folks at BuLogics can explain how exactly the Smart Grid Home Controller works a bit more clearly: 

1. Event: Utility company sends a demand change request via a Smart Meter outside of a consumer's home (indicating peak load times and prices increases). 
2. Response: Smart Grid Home Controller receives request and communicates wirelessly to Z-Wave's HAN automatically shutting down select appliances based on consumer user preferences. 
3. Monitoring: Z-Wave's HAN automatically sends text message via mobile Smart Phone or e-mail, notifying consumer of event and effects on energy efficiency. 
For non green-geeks, this may all be a bit hard to digest, but the goal of the Smart Grid Home Controller is to make tracking and controlling home energy useage easy for everyone ... easy to the point where you don't really have to lift a finger to ensure that your monthly utility bills are decreased and that your household carbon footprint is dramatically reduced. To find out more about the Smart Grid Home Controller, head over to BuLogic's homepage
Images: BuLogic

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Greener Gadgets '10: Smart Grid Home Controller
Residential smart grid technology goes wireless with a notable entrant in the 2010 Greener Gadgets Design Competition: The Smart Grid Home Controller.