Australian invention for smart energy use

Tuesday, 02 June, 2009

La Trobe University’s Centre for Technology Infusion has been announced as a finalist in Innovic’s International Next Big Thing Award 2009 for its Smart Energy and Load Management System. This technology system helps households, business and industry monitor and manage their energy consumption in ‘real time’ so they know where their energy is going and how much it costs.

“The system uses intelligent algorithms to infer usage metrics such as normal usage levels, standby consumption and appliances used,” La Trobe University’s Centre for Technology Infusion’s Director, Professor Jugdutt Singh, said. “This helps generate a user-specific notification message and customised screens advising of ways to reduce consumption. This information is designed to be accessible from any web-enabled device such as touch screens, PDAs and PCs; and also has the ability to communicate using email, SMS and instant messaging.”

The system can communicate over existing power lines, allowing a retrofit model to be installed for existing devices or appliances at minimal cost to consumers.

Joss Evans, CEO of INNOVIC, the not-for-profit organisation that runs the award said: “A successful trial of the system involving 30 tenants at the commercial precinct of La Trobe University’s Research and Development Park has shown the ability to reduce energy consumption by 20–30% on average.”

The Smart Energy and Load Management System was showcased at the Copenmind Clean-Tech Expo and Energy Camp in Copenhagen, Denmark, in September 2008. An agreement has also been finalised to use this technology to power energy monitoring and management in CSIRO’s Zero Emission Homes project.

Winners of the Innovic Award will be announced 2 July 2009.

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