Conservation via HA...


Active Member
I have really been working on some basic conservation measures in my own life and encouraging clients to do the same. Some of the "easy" stuff is using HA for variable irrigation (saving H2O), well implemented lighting control (no loads above 90%, occupancy, etc.) and recycling reminders. What are some other items that I could be utilizing in my own home and client's HA? I truly believe that every little bit counts and there is much that we could collectively do....

All ideas are welcome.
I split my thinking up into "Stuff the system does for me" and "stuff the system tells me so I can do better for myself".

HA-controlled conservation
1) Automatically turn down/off the HVAC & lights when I arm the security system.
2) Shut off all devices at 12:30am (in case I forget to turn off stereo)
3) If SageTV is started in the FamRm, turn off the megachanger and video scaler as we're obviously not watching that.

HA-enabled conservation
1) Announce weather at 7:45am (so we get dressed accordingly and don't adjust HVAC to accomodate for clothing as we're too lazy to change)

I'm sure there's more, but i'm drawing a blank. I'll have to check and see what else there is.
I do pretty much the same as IVB but I am also doing or in process of implementing the following:

Have the alarm system shut off all lighting when I arm away and its daylight out. But if I arm away and its dark out it starts a random pattern of lighting for security purposes.

Kill the heat when I arm away and turn it back on around 3:30 on weekdays (30 mins before wife gets home). If its a holiday etc it doenst happen since we would not be armed away (unless we do go out).

Kill all wall ac's except one when we arm away. We have lots of pets so we try and keep the house below 80 at all times. When we disarm the ac's power is restored. I will be implementing ceiling fan control based on temperatures one of these days.

Occupancy lighting, timed etc lighting, all the usual stuff everyone does. In addition if there is a fire or co alarm I turn all lights on. For a burlgar alarm I randomly toggle lights on/off to attract attention.

Also consider a tankless on demand water heater. I save about $500 a year in gas.

I also do flood control with the alarm system and a water cop. Saved me a lot of damage more than once already.
Similar here...

I'm still trying to finalize the sprinkler (in terms of which rain sensor), but will be soon...

As digger noted, I have lights off at arm in daytime and I just setup/used the "random" lighting for security while away for twos weeks. I had someone watching our dog and it freaked them out the first time a few zones started fading up while they were still in the house (she guessed it was my my doing quickly though)... My random equates to three seperate tasks in the elk (might be a better way to do it). Once Elk releases the updates to the serial expander to fully(better) support ViziaRf, i'll do better there as right now you can't control level, etc from the standard zwave expander.

Also do some things with A/C upon arming...


Though it may not be trully HA related, I also second the recommendation on tankless ( i converted range/water heater/dryer all to propane when we bought the house) - i was hesitant on leaving a tank out of the picture, but we have 6 people and it's awesome. (even though digger shot down my rs-232 proposal! hehe). And you don't have to worry about all the crap that builds up in the tank (calcium/lime).
can some one explain to me how they are doing the "random" lighting when armed away?

Well........... its not exactly random. I have 4 different patterns set up in rules depending on day of week so no two days in a rwo are the same.

Example: if the Day of week is Sun or Wed and its dark out and the system is armed away then turn on light one for 90 mins, light 2 for 40 mins etc.

Last year we were gone for 2 weeks and my neighbors told me you really could not tell. I did have family come over to take in mail and feed pets etc and move the one car a few times as well.
ditto - just 3 instead of four... (i alternate days for two of the tasks (m-w-f vs t-th-s-s) and then through the third one on each night)

(sidenote - because of the viziarf/elk stuff, i currently have to it individually, will be much nicer to have one or two scenes activiated versus 5-10 individual ones in the elk THEN rules)
I also have my alarm turn on the bathroom exhaust fans a few times a day when armed away just to air out the bathrooms. Not exactly a conservation task but it improves the air quality in the house keeping down the humidity in the bathrooms etc. We used to get a little mildew in the masterbath but not anymore.

I bought a bunch of appliancelincs for the ac's.

I use one on the washing machine to shut it down if there is a drain overflow.

I have lamplincs for holiday lighting (sort of conservation so we dont leave them on all night by accident). Most holiday lights are LED now as well, safer, less energy, and no bulbs to replace.

I need Keypadlinc relays and ceiling fan controllers from Insteon to finish things off.
I need Keypadlinc relays and ceiling fan controllers from Insteon to finish things off.

I'm really surprised we don't have a KeypadLinc Relay yet... seems like a no-brainer, and an easy product to build.
The best way I've found to save money is to use HomeSeer to ensure that my thermostats do not get turned lower than 74 in the summer and above 74 in the winter. My wife and especially kids love to "flip" the thermostat way up and down. HomeSeer monitors this and immediately adjust it back down.
irrigation is variable based on the weather conditions. i haven't yet added moisture sensors to add feedback but i do download precipitation history and factor that in. weather forecasts are downloaded and the system is shutdown if rain is coming.

when the security system is armed, non-essential PCs are hibernated, HVAC is set back, amps are turned off, lights are turned off.

the HVAC system will not activate if a door or window is left open. if it's been a hot day and it's cooled off enough outside to open the windows, the AC will shut off and TTS will announce to open the windows. we usually put boxfans in the windows then. temperature sensors in the rooms tell the system when to turn off the fans.

when slimp3/squeezebox playlists end, the amps will turn off if a new playlist isn't queued in 15 minutes.

when we go to sleep @ night, various wall warts, tvs, monitors, printers, etc which are on appliance modules are powered off. they're turned back on when the first person wakes up in the morning.

and the usual motion sensors in rooms to turn off the lights.
This is a very interesting thread so far. As a newbie to HA, I would also be interested in seeing what you are using for performing these various actions (Homeseer, CQC, Elk rules, etc.).
when the security system is armed, non-essential PCs are hibernated, HVAC is set back, amps are turned off, lights are turned off.

What's your method of initiating the hibernation?


i installed a tool called quick shutdown ( ) on all those machines. i installed another tool (kickoff - ) that allows remote execution of apps from another computer. and a batch file remotely executes the qsd program to hibernate. ie:

kfc.exe machinexyz 8104 "c:\program files\Quick ShutDown\qsd.exe -h"

kickoff is installed on port 8104 of remote pc 'machinexyz' and executes qsd.exe w/ the hibernate option