Well as per the previous post, the 2 week mark has been and gone with nothing done due to lack of time! At the end of this month I’m going to take a holiday to get some stuff done.
Stage 1 of the project is to do monitoring of the house, during this phase I feel we should not change any of our habits to get a true representation of how we do things around the house. The idea overall is to save money and you may suggest that we should change as soon as possible, my view is without all of this I’d still be doing the same thing so why should a month matter?
Stage 1 will consist of the following:
- Monitoring electricity usage – As you should be able to see I’m well on my way to having this up and running, it’s just a matter of finding the time to get it finished and logging data.
- Monitoring the temperature outside – As part of the electricity usage monitoring, I’ll also be monitoring the temperature. The reason why I am doing these at the same time is due to my meter being located outside in a sheltered area which means the sensor will not be adversely affected by the sun shine or strong winds etc.
- Monitoring the temperature inside – I’ve chosen that this will be done in the same location as my current thermostat, someone designed my house and chose that this was the optimal location for checking the temperature…..I hope! Plus this location is a run of about a meter of cable to the same Arduino being used above.
- Monitoring the lights in each room – This one I’m going to struggle without actually monitoring the switches themselves, I first thought about using just light sensors however the light outside would affect the reading, as a test I may run the cabling into the light shades and block all light apart from a pin hole to the sensor, with the light on this may give me a high enough reading to determine that the light is on rather than it being a sunny day. An easy test for this is to have a halogen light shining on the light shade from the window.
- Monitoring movement in each room – This will be done with PIR sensors, as we do not have pets I have no concern about ignoring certain movements.
- Monitoring the weather from a trusted source – I’ll be using this for future predictions
- Monitoring the usage of devices plugged into sockets – I’d like to know what’s running in the house to generate my electricity usage.
All the above will be logged to a MySQL database which will have a script performing the logging functions. The data will be validated within the script to confirm the data is within the agreed limits based on certain parameters and it’s a valid source. I’ll also be doing calculations on costs etc for electricity.
Storing all this data will allow me to have some ability to predict bills, both for past and future weeks. For example weather websites give forecasts, based on previous data I’ll know what temperature it was in my house when it was 12 degrees outside and how much electricity I used in that day, so any future days I can predict I’ll use a similar amount.
Stage 2 will bring together that I’ve learnt during stage 1 and tweak where necessary, maybe implement anything new I’ve thought about or others have raised as good ideas.
Stage 3 will look into automation of the house, such as turning lights on and off where required. Controlling the central heating based on temperatures etc.