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Home automation - IFTTT recipes

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Majordennisbloodnok
(@majordennisbloodnok)
Noble Member Member
3712 kWhs
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 327
Topic starter  

It struck me that with quite a few forum members using some advanced logic to control their energy production and use more intelligently we could do with consolidating those ideas in one place. As such, I wanted to start a thread where we can share platform-independent suggestions about what automated decisions could be made on what grounds to make what changes to what kit.

As a starter, I'm going to put forward the following:

  1. Saving sessions
    • Notify you if your energy provider announces a new saving session (so you can opt in) or opt in automatically if that is an option.
    • When a new opted-in saving session starts, tell the air source heat pump to stop providing heat and hot water.
    • When an opted-in saving session stops and the air source heat pump is prohibited from doing its stuff, remove the restriction again.
  2. Agile pricing
    • If you enter a time period with a negative import price and your battery is not full, change your inverter's priority to charge the battery from the grid.
    • If you enter a time period with a positive import price and your battery is being charged from the grid, stop charging the battery from the grid again.
    • If an upcoming time period (how far in advance depends on your battery's charge rate) is above a certain import price threshold, the battery is below a predefined percentage state of charge and the current import price is below a predefined percentage of the upcoming import price, charge the battery from the grid in time to tide you over the peak period. Obviously, when the peak period starts, stop charging the battery from the grid.
    • If you enter a time period with an export price above a certain threshold and the battery's state of charge is above a certain threshold percentage, discharge the battery to the grid until its state of charge hits a separate lower threshold percentage. In essence, if it's early evening and export prices are fantastic, keep enough charge in the battery to cover expected usage for the rest of the evening but discharge the excess to grid now. 
  3. Solar PV and weather
    • If the forecast for the day is sunny, load is already being met by PV and the battery is at more than a predefined percentage state of charge, discharge the battery to the grid (to get the extra export money in the expectation the battery will fill up again anyway through the PV).
    • If the UV index forecasted is low (or if the forecast is for an overcast day), identify the cheapest import rate time periods and fill the battery then to cover peak price periods.
    • If the battery is full before the peak price periods begin, change the battery's "load first minimum state of charge" to 100% to stop the battery servicing the house's load before the peak period begins and then, when the peak period does begin, change the battery's "load first minimum state of charge" back to the previous predefined value (normally 10%?) so it can service needs during the peak period.
  4. Integration with other smart devices
    • If no family members' mobiles are attached to the network for more than one day, assume no-one is home and put the heating and DHW into holiday mode if it is not already.
    • If the heating and DHW are in holiday mode, configure other devices appropriately (holiday schedule for home lighting, change in monitoring for CCTV etc.)

 

These are only a starting point and a lot will, of course, depend on what kit you have, what control you can exert on it and the capabilities of your home automation system or process. Does anyone else have any other suggestions as to how to integrate more intelligently?

105 m2 bungalow in South East England
Mitsubishi Ecodan 8.5 kW air source heat pump
18 x 360W solar panels
1 x 6 kW GroWatt battery and inverter
Raised beds for home-grown veg and chickens for eggs

"Semper in excretia; suus solum profundum variat"


   
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Majordennisbloodnok
(@majordennisbloodnok)
Noble Member Member
3712 kWhs
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 327
Topic starter  

OK, here's a fun one...

The National Grid with several partners provide an API for people to retrieve carbon intensity data. that is perfectly possible to get hold of in a home automation system and incorporate into one's choice about turning on or off various electrical devices. However, I doubt it'd figure too much with regard to home heating since if you're cold you're cold.

Nonetheless....

I am hardly unusual in having a wood burning stove. I'm also well aware that because of the releasing of particulates it isn't entirely eco-friendly but since it only burns what has been fairly recently grown it is to all intents and purposes carbon-neutral (assuming where I source my wood from is operating sustainably). It's also true that since my house is thermostatically controlled if I have a fire then the ASHP will reduce its output to compensate.

All that means that I could (although I haven't done so and am not sure if it'd be worth doing) get my home automation system to look at the weather forecast (to predict whether we'll need to heat the house and to predict whether we'll be generating solar PV energy), the state of the battery (to see if we have energy stored to power the ASHP) and the carbon intensity (to see how clean or dirty is the energy we'd have to import would be at the time the house needs to be heated) and then send me a notification telling me if lighting a fire would be more environmentally friendly than letting the ASHP do its thing.

I suspect that's an exercise to undertake just because one can but I do think it's amusing to see how creative one can be with the information available.

105 m2 bungalow in South East England
Mitsubishi Ecodan 8.5 kW air source heat pump
18 x 360W solar panels
1 x 6 kW GroWatt battery and inverter
Raised beds for home-grown veg and chickens for eggs

"Semper in excretia; suus solum profundum variat"


   
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Toodles
(@toodles)
Noble Member Contributor
4935 kWhs
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 757
 

@majordennisbloodnok Could burning wood in that stove ever be as green as running the heat pump? Even if the electricity is somewhat less than a good shade of green, would it still not be better (at a reasonable COP of course!) than burning the wood with all the inefficiencies that entails. (Yes, I know there are various other ‘comfort’ factors of a roaring wood fire on a cold winter’s day!) Regards, Devil’s advocate.

Toodles, 76 years young and hoping to see 100 and make some ROI on my renewable energy investment!


   
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Majordennisbloodnok
(@majordennisbloodnok)
Noble Member Member
3712 kWhs
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 327
Topic starter  

I thought about that, @toodles, but I think the key is the fact the wood stays above ground. Anything coal or gas has already been locked away and, left to its own devices, would stay that way so releasing it again will add to the carbon in the atmosphere. Wood, however, is just atmospheric carbon dioxide in solid form and if we did nothing with it the wood would die, rot and release the carbon dioxide again. Burning it releases it quicker but if trees are being planted and harvested for burning at the same rate the net atmospheric carbon dioxide increase is zero.

105 m2 bungalow in South East England
Mitsubishi Ecodan 8.5 kW air source heat pump
18 x 360W solar panels
1 x 6 kW GroWatt battery and inverter
Raised beds for home-grown veg and chickens for eggs

"Semper in excretia; suus solum profundum variat"


   
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Majordennisbloodnok
(@majordennisbloodnok)
Noble Member Member
3712 kWhs
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 327
Topic starter  

I hasten to add, having had the chance to reread my post this morning, that I'm not suggesting anyone should use their woodburning stove in preference to a heat pump just because there is some gas being used to generate the electricity supplied from the grid. What I am doing is just highlighting and what I'm highlighting is two things:

  • Firstly, the amount of fossil fuel used to produce the leccy we are consuming is an extra bit of information some will want to factor into their choices and that information is available in a format that's readily consumable by automation systems.
  • We often have more options at our disposal than we realise and how those options can be made to fit together is an interesting exercise in creative thinking. In the case I laid out, using wood as a heat source could be a valid occasional alternative when there is very little renewable energy available and it only recently occured to me how it might be done.

In theory, burning wood from a sustainable source should be better than using any electricity generated from fossil fuels. In practice, I'm absolutely sure there will be a balance required and that the use of wood should only be seen as a preferred alternative on a relatively small number of occasions.

105 m2 bungalow in South East England
Mitsubishi Ecodan 8.5 kW air source heat pump
18 x 360W solar panels
1 x 6 kW GroWatt battery and inverter
Raised beds for home-grown veg and chickens for eggs

"Semper in excretia; suus solum profundum variat"


   
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Toodles
(@toodles)
Noble Member Contributor
4935 kWhs
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 757
 

@majordennisbloodnok Yup, that makes a lot of sense. OE supply my energy via the grid and I produce some with my PV; OE proudly claim to be supplying green electricity. Now, shouldn’t the measure of how green our energy is be carried out at least nationwide (if not globally!) after all, if some less than bright green fuel source is being employed, does that not affect us all? Striving for ALL energy to be sourced from renewable energy (non fossil I mean) is the ultimate goal, but I don’t think I wish to fool myself into a warm fuzzy glow because my energy supplier sources ALL their energy from renewable sources whilst there are still lumps of fossils being consumed elsewhere at power generating plants. Quizzicaly, Toodles.

Toodles, 76 years young and hoping to see 100 and make some ROI on my renewable energy investment!


   
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