Exactly four years ago, CE Pro wondered if “smart vents” might be the next big thing in HVAC controls. But these motorized vents, which are meant to replace dumb air vents to control temperature in individual rooms, have struggled to find a following despite strong showings from from EcoNet, Keen Home, Ecovent and others.
Start-up HiberSense promises a more elegant approach to the smart-vent category, with a Connected Climate Control system that uses multiple sensors and analytics to make each room comfortable and save energy house-wide.
Launching at CEDIA 2017, solution includes a sensor package that can monitor temperature, pressure, humidity, light, motion (occupancy detection) and indoor air quality (optional).
“This provides our developers with a plethora of data for machine learning and predictive analytics,” says Bob Fields, chief revenue officer for the Pittsburgh-based company.
The result, he says, is a solution that “maximizes system performance and efficiency, and optimizes comfort for occupants.”
One concern about “traditional” smart-vents is they could damage the HVAC system if sealed off for long periods of time.
In the case of HiberSense, sensors monitor duct pressure and airflow among other things to mitigate potential problems like over-heated motors and freezing coils.
The HiberSense system is automated via a central hub, which receives data from the sensors via Bluetooth. The wireless vents – available in brass, wood, aluminum and plastic – have a three-year battery life based on eight to 12 activations per day, according to the company.
The system scales for commercial use; indeed, HiberSense says it has already has been installed in retirement homes and dormitories with positive results.
The company plans to sell directly to the custom installation channel, as well as to HVAC contractors. Integration with Control4, Crestron, Savant, Lutron, Amazon Alexa and other control systems is coming, according to Fields. Via the company’s online portal, integrators can build their own packages at their own price levels. Recommended pricing starts $99 for vents (based on style), $200 for the hub, and $79 for the sensors.
At CEDIA, HiberSense will introduce its next iteration of motorized dampers that sit inside the ductwork, rather than on top of it.
Noting that $220 billion is wasted each year in energy inefficiencies, Field says, “The old adage is that when you set your thermostat to 72 degrees, the only place in the house that it is 72 degrees is standing right in front of the thermostat.”
HiberSense plans to deliver the right temperature to the right places at the right time.