Clean tech company Encycle created Swarm Logic™, a wireless energy management solution that is quickly installed and can cut a property owner’s electric costs 5-10% or more—often the equivalent of one “free” electric bill every year. Swarm Logic™ is based on the way that bees and other social insects communicate and coordinate with each other using simple rules governing individual interactions. Swarm Logic™ controllers establish a mesh wireless network among power-consuming appliances, enabling them to communicate among themselves autonomously. Using a custom algorithm, the connected appliances spread out energy demand among them. The result is known as peak demand shaving. Many utilities calculate billing rate based on a combination of maximum consumption and peak demand usage. By reducing peak demand usage and smoothing out demand, substantial energy savings can be realized.
Different types of building equipment usually operate in isolation from each other, obeying a single thermostat or a timer that has no knowledge of what else is currently operating in the facility. Since these loads do not communicate with each other, they often operate simultaneously–unnecessarily boosting the highest demand level in a given month, and causing higher than expected bills. The Swarm Logic™ solution falls under the umbrella of Smart Grid technologies, which are relatively new. Other microcontrollers are more concerned with preset configurations of lighting and temperature than with the cyclical demand of these devices.