Free to a Good Home: Intelligent Energy Management System Idea

by Tim M on April 22, 2010

The Idea
I’ve been ruminating over setting free my idea for a while, and I’m just too busy to justify sitting on this, so I am giving it away.

For a while, I’ve been very intrigued about the lack of a really good home power management system.

Sure, there are some really good solutions that show you what you are using, but something needs to go a step further.

I don’t like the fact that many systems require (or used to) installation by a registered electrician onto the switchboard. This is a huge turn off (and stopped me installing one).

My solution bypasses that problem by measuring at the powerpoints themselves – it would be excellent to combine these with a fusebox reader to find any vampire devices, but this is an idea for another day.

What is missing is an all in one system that measures your power at the key powerpoints, then shows you what each point is using, AND allows you to power off power points on an adhoc basis or via scheduling.

I want to be able to see what each point or pool of devices or the system as a whole is using now, used last week, what my CO2 output is, my costs, everything.

I came up with this idea of a set of slave points connecting to a master controller.

Slaves could be forced into “pools” of devices; think an Essential Pool (never off, things like fridges etc), a “Don’t Care” pool for things like TV etc, that can be turned off whenever and a “Cycle Pool” for things like deep freezers which could be off 10% (or whatever you choose) of the time.

I came up with 2 systems; an entry level system that would give you basic energy use information and control, and an expert system, that would give you access to the system on your computer, allowing you to view stats and schedule device cycle times on a computer.

Slave-controller functionality would be achieved via RF or internal PLC comms.


Here are the documents for you to download and use.

  1. The High Level Design, describing functionality, interfaces, requirements etc – here [pdf 173kB]
  2. The Request for Manufacturing, used to obtain a quote from a manufacturer – here [pdf 74kB]

Why am I giving this away?
As I said, I’m way to busy to justify sitting on this. I have many (what I think are) good ideas, but I don’t have time to execute them. Shippers are winners. I’d rather see someone ship my idea than it not be shipped at all.

Additionally, this is a product that would require a fair wack of money in capex to get going, in a market where first-to-market would be a huge advantage. It’s money I don’t want to spend.

So I’m not losing anything by giving this away. What I do stand to gain though, is someone could take this idea and improve it, implement it in part or whole and use it to help lower electricity consumption and make the world a better place.

I have a provisional patent (Australia) sitting on this. I am releasing this under Creative Commons terms listed below. Take the idea, use it, improve it, make money on it! Just attribute to me.

Creative Commons License
My Intelligent Energy Power Management System by Tim Marsh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia License.
Based on a work at


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