• Home Area Network
  • Installation
  • Cost

What is a Home Area Network

A Home Area Network (HAN) is a system that allow users to recognize where energy inefficiencies exist in a building. For example, a HAN can help identify:

  • HVAC systems that are simultaneously cooling and heating a building.
  • Systems that are unnecessarily operating 24 hours a day.
  • Pumps that don’t need to be running all the time.
  • Lights that don't need to be on at night.
  • “Smart billing” where a vehicle could be charged up at multiple locations at the cost of the vehicle owner and not the property owner.

It’s a system that educates consumers about energy efficiency ultimately allowing them to both save money and reduce energy consumption (CO2) without discomfort.

Where and when can a HAN be installed at premises

First of all, utilities need to clarify their goals in bringing a HAN into the customer's environment. For example the following reasons:

  • Prove utility’s efficiency
  • Keep utility’s environment for best comfort at lowest cost
  • Provide occupants with real time information about energy consumption
  • Offer the highest degree of security and accurate energy measurement and cost calculation
  • Provide power consumption/cost history & statistics.

A HAN could be installed where there already is installed a piece of home electronics that contain some intelligence on energy usage that is connected to the grid and has some communication capabilities. It could be installed in new or old retrofitted premises to green marked buildings (energy star).

Millions of deployed smart meters tend to look out towards the utility. Smart meters could interact with the appliances in the home (they typically work through some hardware and software gateway (HAN) that is armed with wireless capabilities and intelligence on household behavior).

What is the cost of  a HAN

A HAN has to be seen as a scalable, flexible open energy management & communication platform. That means the consumer may chose platform’s degree of complexity, offered features and level of automation. 

The lowest HAN platform is used as a communication device. This device provides basic information to the customer -- how much energy is being consumed and at what expense. The question that immediately comes to mind is what the value of this information is, and what does it cost the utility to provide this information? These small display devices are being presented at a price range of $80 to $160 per unit per home to deploy. The HAN device needs to be placed within a specific range so that it can communicate to the electric meter, which in this case is the broadcaster of the information (no measurement sensors). It calls “Mirror of Smart Meter” This kind of information could even be reached over IP from energy providers free of charge, i.e. no big investment!

At the highest end a HAN unit acts as a demand side manager (DSM) device to shed load at peak load periods. It controls all major home appliances and HVAC (smart thermostats). It could interactively communicate with consumers, give alarms and warnings when something goes wrong. Including installation and setup, the cost of such device come from  >$500 to $2000 based on the system’s complexity, perimeter area, number/type of control sensors, etc.