Electronic Design
EcoFocus 2011 Gets Ever Greener

EcoFocus 2011 Gets Ever Greener

For the past three years at the beginning of spring, Pepcom’s EcoFocus event opens for three hours only at the Manhattan Pavilion in somewhat-lower Manhattan, New York; East Eighteenth Street to be exact. The small, intimate venue, which hosts only New York’s top press and tech analysts, brings together a roster of innovative companies with no small commitment to creating green, eco-friendly products and technologies. Of the event, Pepcom founding partner Chris O’Malley states, “The participants in EcoFocus point the way toward a future when high-tech products and services enable us to live more efficient, environmentally-aware lifestyles.” Here are few of the outstanding participants and their offerings.

New York City’s own ThinkEco is ramping up its modlet for business and commercial markets. The company’s flagship product, modlet is shorthand for modern outlet (see fig. 1). Modular by design, it is essentially an energy-intelligent outlet that monitors power use by appliances and other equipment and shuts off power to specific equipment when it isn’t needed.

According to ThinkEco, the modlet pays for itself in roughly six months. Allegedly, a commercial site-wide modlet deployment can realize a 35% to 80% percent reduction in the power consumption of each device plugged into a modlet, reducing overall utility bills by up to 10% with no change in business routines. Check the video on Engineering TV and for more info, visit the ThinkEco website.

Orange, CA company Pixi demoed its advanced LED lighting solutions, which it believes will become standards in a variety of markets including consumer, commercial, and hospitality arenas. The company’s patent-pending LED technologies enable the warm glow of incandescent bulbs, light uniformity, greater brightness, and freedom from shadow effects.

A number of LED bulbs were on display sporting the shape and form factor of the classic A19 Edison light bulb (see fig. 2). The components employ 99.7% pure aluminum stamped heat sink fins in a unique design that achieves efficient downward light pass-through. Available now in A19 and candelabra form factors, the bulbs will also be available in globe, PAR, and MR16 models. Other features include IP 65 certification for ingress protection and the bulbs are dimmable.

Quite impressive, Pixi offers a replacement for conventional fluorescent tube fixtures that will soon be available in 2’ x 2’, 2’ x 4’, and 1’ x 4’ form factors. Unlike CFLs, these are RoHS compliant and contain no hazardous substances. See the show video on Engineering TV and for more details, visit http://www.pixi-lighting.com.

If you hate burning expensive fuel while sitting in traffic jams, INRIX has something to ease your pain. The Kirkland, WA company has several offerings, one of which is a free app for Android and iPhone users. INRIX Traffic 3.0 gives an instant view of traffic hotspots and features one-touch reporting (see fig. 3).

Users can instantly view daily traffic hot spots indicating where conditions are worse or better. Traffic info is sourced from a traffic network analyzing data from hundreds of public and private sources including a community of more than four million drivers. Via one-touch reporting, one can easily view and alert other drivers, the police, and emergency services to accidents and other impacting events along one’s route.

According to the company’s research, daily use of INRIX Traffic helps drivers to spend one less day a year idle in traffic, use one less tank of fuel per year, and, with an eco focus, save the planet by reducing vehicle emissions by 350 lbs. of carbon. INRIX Traffic is available as a free download from the Apple App Store, Amazon, and the Appstore for Android. For more information, visit http://www.inrix.com.

Sigma Designs was on hand with components using its multi-faceted Z-Wave technology, an interoperable wireless RF-based communications technology designed for control and status reading applications in residential and light commercial environments (see fig. 4). It enables reliable yet economical wireless networking via narrow bandwidth applications and by substituting expensive hardware with software solutions. In brief, Z-Wave transforms any stand-alone device into an intelligent network node that one can control and monitor wirelessly.

For remote home monitoring, Z-Wave allows users to remotely monitor and control just about any electrical product in or around the home via a PC or cell phone. A remote home monitoring system can provide info such as if the kids got home safely, if a storm dumped water in the basement, if a door or window was left unlocked, or if someone forgot to turn off the lights, etc.

Another Z-Wave feature is intelligent energy conservation. Here the technology relies on an array of sensors and controllers to customize home energy consumption as referenced to a particular component (lights, audio systems, TV, air conditioner, heating system, etc.), a particular room or rooms, and/or the whole house. Once again, Z-Wave tasks can be automated and adjusted remotely via a PC or a cell phone. Watch the video at Engineering TV and for further details are available at http://www.sdesigns.com.

One of the many truly innovative approaches to efficient green technologies is The Green Revolution’s (TGR’s) approach to energy generation. With more people hitting the gym these days to stay fit and/or to knock off a few extra tons, there’s a lot of treadmill walking, stationary bike riding, and dry-land boat rowing going on. That translates into a lot of circular (repetitive) motion that can be put to even more good use besides the individual’s calorie-burning efforts.

TGR has a patent-pending technology that installs on these physical-fitness machines and generates electricity whenever someone is using the machine (see fig. 5). The device can be installed on all established brands of indoor cycling equipment. In essence, a typical commercial gym or fitness club can install these on all of its stationary bikes then connect the outputs to the establishment’s electrical grid. It is feasible for the generated electricity to power up the entire facility. One would be hard pressed to not be impressed by this approach. For more info on TGR, go to http://www.greenrevolution.com.

ITT Corporation’s Flow Control division goes green on two levels with its RainPerfect, a solar-powered pump that enables users to recycle rain water (see fig. 6). The pump and solar panel attach to most commercially available rain barrels. When the barrel is filled with rain runoff, the pump and panel is attached and one can use the system to water his or her garden, lawn, or for just about any other task requiring a spritz of H2O, i.e., wash windows, wash the car, etc.

RainPerfect’s features include a rechargeable NiMH battery powered by the solar panel, easy top-mount installation adaptable to most rain barrel styles, standardized garden fixturing ensuring compatibility with all major hose brands, and the ability to pump up to 100 gallons on a single charge. Of particular note, as per the US Environmental Protection Agency, a rain barrel can potentially save homeowners about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months. That translates into more green in the user’s pockets.

RainPerfect is available online and through select retailers nationwide for approximately $139 each. Watch the video on Engineering TV and for more details, go to http//www.rainperfectpump.com.

TAGS: Components
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