Baseload Buster uses PV panels to lower electric bills

Who doesn’t want to reduce their electric bills? But shifting one’s house entirely over to a solar panel energy system from a fossil fuel-based energy system can be costly.

The Baseload Buster from Amsterdam company Sun Invention offers a third solution that uses photovoltaics (PV) to convert solar energy into direct current electricity. The system includes four solar PV panels of 250 watts each that collect sun during the day to create a maximum of 1,000 watts of pure energy during daytime harvesting. Excess energy is then stored in Lithium batteries to deliver energy during the night or during especially cloudy weather. The PV panels run with an extra cell optimizer to avoid large losses during energy production.

Users can adjust the storage setting on their own based on factors including the region it is being used in, what season it is, and personal consumption level. Sun Invention is looking to raise €20,000 (~$24,200). Backers who spend €2,950 (~$3,600) will get the four panels including a new solar cell optimizer, and a 20-meter connection cable that connects the Baseload Buster connection box to the user’s existing home grid energy system. Country-specific AC connectors are ready to order also and versions for both 50 Hz and 60 Hz grids can be offered by the company.

The system sounds promising. But while the Baseload Buster is clearly less expensive than switching over entirely to a solar energy system, it is still too costly to attract mass consumer adoption. It is also hard to gauge just how much savings the user can expect to see each month.


Amazing Spider Fan won’t spin webs, will quickly convert ceiling lights to fans

Stuff that requires no tools to install and saves the user money. Now that is a winning combo! And Amazing Spider Fan seems to have come up with just such a blend. The creator claims that if a person knows how to screw a light bulb into its socket, then using these battery operated foam ceiling fans will be just as easy. Ceiling fans are a great way to cut down on energy bills, keeping homes cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. While this particular product is apparently only able to be used in the summertime, every little bit of savings helps! The fan can be easily removed in order to change locations or store for the winter once the warmer months are over. The product is apparently not yet available for use, but backers can help it along with their contributions, including invites to product demonstration parties for $100, and hopefully, an opportunity for input at those parties to make this idea even better.

Sensors/IoT Smart Home

Neoji blends automation with energy monitoring

The Premise. The smart home revolution is banging down the doors of houses and apartments redolent in their wasting of energy; both for utilities and in the way residents have to get up, go home, and be present to control anything. Now that that revolution is here, homeowners need access to an automation hub that shares their goals and priorities.

The Product. Neoji can control the entire home using an app on a smartphone or tablet. Equipped with air sensors, a microphone, and an HD camera, homeowners can monitor their own home at their leisure or be alerted to motion or sound when they’re not paying attention. Because Neoji can learn about what’s part of the daily routine and what’s out of the ordinary, phones won’t be littered with notifications about pets playing or kids coming home from school.

The Pitch. Neoji introduces itself as a flexible device perfect for everything from baby monitoring to home security. With a focus on cutting energy costs and doing its part for the environment, Neoji takes things a step farther by planting or preserving a tree for every backer. Neoji wants to collect $100,000 in pledges in order to complete development and move beyond the prototype stage.

The Perks. A Neoji with app, energy coaching, and 24/7 technical support will arrive in April 2015 for those who pledge $299 to the campaign. A color choice between white and black is available for $349, and the model with an HD camera and air quality sensors can be had for $399. A flexible development kit with wall-mounts and access to the SDK goes to backers with $499 to contribute. Additional tiers offer multiple Neoji devices.

The Potential. Neoji is trying to be an all-in-one home automation system that revolutionizes the way homeowners interact with their property. The problem? It’s a little late to the party. In terms of its features and compatibility, this is really in the realm of what consumers are expecting from a device like this. The only way Neoji stands out is in its ecologically-focused presentation. If the campaign video is any indication, Neoji is somewhat fixated on reducing energy costs. For those that have a similar mindset, this will be the smart home environment controller that will be the best fit. Otherwise, Neoji winds up being another face in the crowd.

Smart Home

tado° lets you keep your cool with your smartphone and air conditioner

The Premise. As summer approaches, homeowners everywhere are coming home to hot, sticky houses that take time to cool down. The alternative is leaving the air conditioner running all day, but that strategy requires spending more on utilities and isn’t environmentally conscious.

The Product. The tado° is a cooling system that can be controlled through an app, but will also power off the air conditioner when nobody is in the home and turn it on within a set proximity to make rooms nice and cool upon arrival. The system can be controlled from room to room as well, so that only enough cooling that is needed is used. The app is available for iOS and Android devices, and the tado° system is compatible with virtually any remote-controlled air conditioning system.

The Pitch. We learn about tado° through Harold and Lizzie, a couple who prove the axiom of opposites attracting. tado° helps keep their energy costs down while Lizzie is at work and Harold is out shopping, reading, and generally forgetting to turn the air conditioner off when he leaves. Because Tado, Inc. is already launched and experienced in climate control in Europe, their presentation is well-shot, attractive, and eye-catching. From explaining the app to listing the various brands of compatible air conditioners, almost any question about the tado° system is answered. Tado wants to raise $150,000 to

The Perks. A tado° system with app is available to backers who pledge at least $99 per unit. For those who have a uniquely colored room and want the tado° panel to match, color can be customized for $179. Developers who want to use the same technology behind the device for other purposes can get a developer kit for $299. All rewards will ship out in August 2014.

The Potential.  Similar systems are already rolling out for lighting and heaters, so air conditioners are a natural step. And while tado° may not be first to market, the sleek presentation, easily hidden sensor panel, and compatibility with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and infra-red make the tado° a solid choice for anyone wanting to come home to cool temperatures without having a massive power bill. The functionality is comparable to the Friedrich Kuhl or Quirky+GE Aros air conditioner, but part of the beauty of tado° is its compatibility with a wide variety of different brands of air conditioner, meaning a new system doesn’t need to be purchased and any brand loyalty can remain firmly in place.