Global semiconductor supplier STMicroelectronics was selected by European power company Enel to be its key semiconductor partner in the Energy@Home consortium, which was launched by appliance makers Electrolux and Indesit along with Enel and Telecom Italia in October 2009.
The consortium's goal is to help private homeowners and customers use electricity more efficiently through the development of a system in which "smart appliances" will be able to independently manage themselves, thereby adjusting the power being used across the entire home and avoiding consumption peaks and overloads.
The project is a further step towards the development of a smart grid, which will eventually allow appliances to self-program depending on power supply and price.
By integrating ST's ZigBee USB key, the consortium's system will provide users with information on their household consumption directly on their computer, cell phone, or on the display of the appliance itself.
Consumers – with easy access to information on energy consumption and to energy saving apps - will be able to make smarter use of their appliances.
The system will include a Coordinated Management Mode, in which a Home Gateway in the household will plan appliance operations taking into account energy prices, selected household appliance programs, and the customer's preferences.
"The Energy@Home initiative has already demonstrated that the combination of smarter meters, smarter appliances, and access to real-time information on energy usage and costs encourages users to change their energy consumption patterns, resulting in lower costs to the consumer and a more efficient electricity supply," said Matteo Lo Presti, group vice president for ST's Industrial and Multisegment Sector.
ST's USB key will be used with Enel's Smart Info device to communicate with household smart meters, enabling customers to access meter information more easily via PCs, TVs, appliances, smartphone apps, etc. This integration gives consumers detailed knowledge of their consumption and the ability to optimize it by planning the use of appliances and lighting more efficiently.
to Daily News